Tuesday, October 4, 2011

31 Days of Play! Mastering play dates.

Beansprout playing with his friend E.

"Play fosters belonging and encourages cooperation."
--Stuart Brown, MD

Before having kids I definitely joined in the bewilderment of why on earth parents would schedule their kids with play dates; I had never participated in formal play dates as a child which left me suspicious that these plans were just another way parents were forcing kids into adult behavior too soon.  Even in Beansprout's first year of life, I had to admit that any "play date" we had was really a time for me to get together with other moms to share the experiences of motherhood, not really an opportunity for Beansprout to play with his friends.  Yet as Beansprout's play changes, I'm beginning to see how true Stuart Brown's words are.  When we returned from having been away for a few weeks, I was totally shocked at the way Beansprout greeted his friend E. when we met at the local playground.  He was SO happy to see his friend!  And it was in that moment that I realized all of our weekly "play dates" with E. were really good for my little guy.  Because of living so far away, Beansprout doesn't have family to play with and learn from - an issue many families face today.  Seeing the familiar face of his friend, with whom he has been playing since they were six months old, and being able to chase after him on the playground gives Beansprout that sense of belonging we all need.  Now if we could only master the cooperation, lol.

I'm writing about play for 31 days!  Check out an explanation of the challenge here and check out my other posts so far: 31 Days of Play!Play for the Senses, This Mom Loves Music.  Thanks for reading, I love reading your comments and thoughts!


  1. So what exactly is a "play date"? Is it just kids playing together? Is it the same thing as adults "having people over"?

  2. Michelle,

    Funny how even when so little they still know who their little friends are and are excited about seeing them...so cute!

  3. @Shawna I was thinking just that - the play dates we have are basically just having people over. We usually just chat while the kids play together. I wonder if "real" play dates are maybe more structured? Though I'm not sure who the people are who are having "real" play dates, lol.

    @Kim It's so true! Beansprout is usually realy shy when he first sees his friends, taking some time to warm up, but this particular time he was thrilled to see his friend!