Play 101

A Practical Understanding Of Play & Some Gardening Tips

On today’s Folk University Talk Show, Registered Therapeutic Counsellor, Hayley Newell shares with us a deeper scientific and practical understanding of play. By definition play serves no practical purpose. Yet, it is anything but valueless. It lays the foundation of a child’s cognitive development, contributes to their physical health, services an opportunity to work through traumatic experiences and develop emotional resources, and helps kids practice healthy social interactions. The brain doesn’t know the different between real and imagined experiences so play can set the foundation for a great deal of future development. 

Practical Understanding of Play

Play is among the most important tools in healthy development and like other skills, play is learned. Over time children are able to develop more sophisticated play and they can do this through watching and playing with older children. Playing with adults in their life is another way for children to develop their play and for them to build healthy attachments with the adults in their life. A few guidelines for getting started with the important practice of play:

  • Set clear boundaries. It’s okay to start by saying: “We are going to play together for five minutes.” It’s essential that during that time the adult has no distractions, especially those from phones and screens. 
  • Start small. It’s practice for the adult as much (and maybe more) than for the child. Start small so that the adult can really be attentive and focused and can ease into the experience. (A lot of adults feel a bit of overwhelm or panic at the thought of play and beginning small can help.)
  • Child-led. The adult can just follow the lead of the child. It’s enough to just follow along and state what is happening: “You are pouring the coffee for your visitor.” or “The baby is crying and you are picking her up to soothe her.”

Adults can benefit from play as well. Remember, play has no purpose and thus sports do not count as play. What can count though are any activity that puts a person into a flow state or an easy, creative space. Some people experience this from gardening, cooking, art, writing, crafting, or even puttering or organizing. The key is to find something that one loves and to remember that growth occurs in the space between comfort and discomfort. 

This week in your garden

Lovena Harvey discussed her garden this week and her battle with the sow bugs. She discussed some of the natural solutions for dealing with infestations. Her strategies include 

  • Bait plants or putting pieces of wood in the case of sow or wood bugs nearby to attract 
  • Transplanting plants when they are larger and better able to survive
  • Using diatamaceous earth/ginger powder/or plastic bottle collars around the plants
  • Using eggshells around pants for slugs or sawdust for cabbage root maggot
  • And hand picking off the wood bugs 

Lovena Harvey is also the founder of the Cortes-based small business Gathering Place Trading which provides organic, fairly traded herbs and spices. These are always grown as locally as possible and sometimes even on Cortes! Have extra rosemary or bay leaves? Let Lovena know!

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