I appreciated the article you published on the importance of play for young children in assimilating to the daily realities of the pandemic (“Pandemic hits playtime,” Dec. 24).
Play is a critical aspect of child development that is often overlooked. It is the way that children make sense out of their world, as well as to explore their place in it.
Play has been a part of children’s lives since we became human, and it starts in infancy. What baby doesn’t love “Peek-a-boo?” Children who have had abundant and a rich play experience as preschoolers tend to be more creative and successful in coping with change than others who have not, as this article indicates.
My concern is that more and more, children are placed in front of screens, passively taking in what is offered to them, rather than actively manipulating real objects in play. We are subjecting this generation of children to a massive experiment, with unknown consequences.
As a speech pathologist who has specialized in early childhood for 50 years, I know the critical importance of play, and urge parents and caregivers to turn off the screens! Simple, natural playthings in a tub of water or sand, a set of blocks, or Play-Doh are inexpensive and what young children love to play with. Let your child explore outside, build a snow fort, or slide down a hill on their sled. Don’t let them become addicted to screen time!