Sometimes the definition of the word "play" seems obvious, even though, we really should discuss it. The definition of word "play" is a verb meaning to "engage in an activity for enjoyment and recreation rather than a serious or practical purpose" and the second definition is a verb meaning "to take part in a sport". As a noun "play" means "actively engaged in for enjoyment and recreation." These definitions come from Googling the following "define play." The origin of the word play comes from the Old English "plegian" which means 'to exercise' and Old English "plega" which means 'brisk movement' and Middle Dutch "pleien" which means 'leap for joy,' 'dance'.
Therefore, regardless of which definition we accept, the meaning of play seems to require enjoyment. The more playful the experience, the more fun it becomes.
As adults, when we play with children, we quickly realize that it is important to consider what they enjoy. At first glance, this seems very simple and easy and it is, until we play what children actually enjoy, time and time again and as the repetition continues it more and more difficult for adults to enjoy. The more times they want to repeat what they enjoy the less fun an adult may find the experience. What are we to do? Play is no longer enjoyable for us and we are not likely to want to repeat the repetition. One thing is certain, unless there is mutual joy, it is not play.
Some of us just feel guilty when a child "asks" us to play. Guilt makes having fun playing impossible.
Allowing our feelings or the activity of repetition to control us, makes it less likely that we will play with children.
Question: What is an adult to do?
There are lots of ways to take care of these problems of guilt and repetition.
- Start a list of things that have worked in the past.
- Ask your friends who have been there, how they successfully walked through this mine field.
- Talk to adults, even your parents and ask them how they handled these issues.
Use our friend Google - there must be ways to handle these problems without losing our minds.