Poems About the Value of Play

The Value of Play

            You say that you love your children,
            And are concerned that they learn today,
            As am I, that's why I'm providing
            A variety of kinds of play.

            You are asking what's the value
            Of having your children play?
            Your daughter's creating a tower,
            She may be a builder someday.

            You're asking me the value
            Of blocks and sand and clay.
            Your children are solving problems,
            They will use that skill every day.

            You're saying that you don't want your son
            To play in that sissy way.
            He's learning to cuddle a doll,
            He may be a father someday.

            You're questioning the interest centers,
            They just look like useless play.
            Your children are making choices,
            They'll be on their own someday.

            You're worried your children aren't learning
            And later they'll have to pay.
            They're learning a pattern for learning,
            For they'll be learners always.


When Your Child Comes Home Messy

Red paint in the hair? Blue paint on the jeans? Sand in the shoes? Peanut butter on a favorite shirt? White socks that look brown? Sleeves a bit damp?


worked with a friend
solved a problem
created a masterpiece
negotiated a difference
learned a new skill
had a great time
developed new language skills


feel lonely
become bored
do repetitive tasks that are too babyish
do worksheets that are too easy
do sit down work that is discouraging


paid good money for those clothes
Will have trouble getting the red paint out
are concerned the caregiver isn't paying enough attention to your child


was aware of your child's special needs and interests
spent time planning a challenging activity for the children
encouraged the children to try new things
was worried you might be concerned

Young children really learn when they are actively involved in play.....not when someone is talking to them. There is a difference between "messy" and "lack of care." Your caregiver made sure your child was fed, warm, offered new skills and planned messy fun things to do because that's how young children learn!

Send your child in clothes that can get dirty! Keep extra old clothes at the site for times when the child gets really messy. But remember, young children need time to be kids.

~author unknown

Just Playing

When I am building in the block room, please don't say I'm "just playing". For you see, I'm learning as I play, about balance and shapes. Who knows, I may be an architect someday.

When I'm getting all dressed up, setting the table, caring for the babies, don't get the idea I'm "just playing". For, you see, I'm learning as I play; I may be a mother or a father someday.

When you see me up to my elbows in paint or standing at an easel, or molding and shaping clay, please don't let me hear you say, "He is just playing". For, you see, I'm learning as I play. I'm expressing myself and being creative. I may be an artist or an inventor someday.

When you see me sitting in a chair "reading" to an imaginary audience, please don't laugh and think I'm "just playing". For, you see, I'm learning as I play. I may be a teacher someday.

When you see me combing the bushes for bugs, or packing my pockets with choice things I find, don't pass it off as "just play". For you see, I'm learning as I play. I may be a scientist someday.

When you see me engrossed in a puzzle or some "plaything" at my school, please don't feel the time is wasted in "play". For, you see, I'm learning as I play. I'm learning to solve problems and concentrate. I may be in business someday.

When you see me cooking or tasting foods, please don't think that because I enjoy it, it is "just play". I'm learning to follow direction and see differences. I may be a cook someday.

When you see me learning to skip, hop, run and move my body, please don't say I'm "just playing". For, you see, I'm learning as I play. I'm learning how my body works. I may be a doctor, nurse or athlete someday.

When you ask me what I've done at school today, and I say, "I just played", please don't misunderstand me. For you see, I'm learning as I play. I'm learning to enjoy and be successful in my work. I'm preparing for tomorrow. Today, I am a child and my work is play.

~Anita Wadley

When I Play I Am Learning

When I smile and coo back and forth with a special adult, I am learning I can make people respond, that I am loveable.

When I play with my hands and feet, I am learning that those things are a part of me and I make them move.

When I turn an object over and over, I am learning that objects look different on the other side.

When I make my mobile move by kicking the crib, I am learning that I can make things happen by moving my body.

When I crawl into small nooks and crannies, I am learning where I fit and about shapes and sizes.

When I push objects off the high chair tray, I am learning that things fall downward and are still there, even when I cannot see them.

When I fill and dump containers and line things up to fit in holes, I learn that I can make exciting things happen.

When I crawl up and down steps, I am learning to coordinate my arms and legs and balance.

When I push, pull and haul objects, I am learning how heavy objects are and how they move.

When I make things happen, I am learning that I have power.

When I play peek-a-boo, I learn that people exist even when I cannot see them.

When I lift flaps, I am learning to hide things and make them reappear.

When I look at books, I am learning to use symbols and pictures represent real things and have names.

When I stack objects, I am learning about shapes, sizes, balance and gravity.

When I fit things inside each other, I am learning the relationship of negative and positive spaces.

When I play pat-a-cake, I am learning to have fun with someone else.

When I play 'Ring Around the Rosie', I am learning a game with a rule don't fall till the end!

When I imitate the actions of other children, I am learning that I am one of them and can do what other people do.

When I chant sounds, I am learning the melodies, sounds and rhythms of my language.

When I stick things in holes, I am learning to line things up properly to fit.

When I bang objects on the floor, I am learning that things make all sorts of different noises.

When I push a ball back and forth, I am learning it's more fun to be with others than myself, and it's fun to take turns.

When I pretend to feed my doll, I am learning what it feels like to nurture someone.

When I pretend to put my doll to bed, I am learning what it feels like to be the powerful one.

When I pretend to drink from my toy cup, I am learning to use symbols that are useful later in learning to read and do math.

When I climb on a climber, I am learning balance and coordination to develop strength.

When I scribble with crayons, I am learning that I can make marks by moving my hands and I can affect the shape and quality of the mark.

When I line up blocks to make a road, I am learning the relationship of shapes and to use symbols.

When I play with little people and cars, I am learning what it feels like to be a giant.

When I dance to music, I am learning to enjoy music and to have fun with others

A hundred years from now it will not matter what my bank account was, the sort of house I lived in, or the kind of car I drove ... but the world may be different because I was important in the life of a child.

~author unknown

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