Play matters. I would even go as far as saying play is crucial to my well-being. Play has been such an important aspect of every single stage of my life, and I am a better person because of it. As an elementary physical education teacher, mom of two little boys, and someone who refuses to ever really grow up, I consider myself somewhat of a play master. Now I won’t claim to know everything there is to know about play, but when it comes to the actual playing itself, I like to think I’m at the top of the game. Pun intended.
words + photographs PIPER WRIGHT
I am fortunate enough to have come from a long line of play enthusiasts. My parents were incredibly intentional in playing with my brother and me growing up: my dad taking us to the backyard for some catch or challenging us to our nightly games of street hockey; my mom making up silly songs and doing ridiculous dances and going right along with whatever our wild imaginations could come up with as if it were always a reality. They not only modeled for us what a joy play could be, but we developed deep and caring relationships with them that have grown stronger well into our adulthood. And I know their parents instilled their love of play in them. I recently witnessed my 87-year-old grandmother chasing my two year old around a park playing games of tag and hide-and-seek. The giggles and squeals of laughter from both of them could be heard by everyone around. In our family, to play is to love, and we sure do love to play.
My favorite place to be is on the floor next to my little boys building towers, racing cars, and scheming up exciting adventures. I adore being swept into their play world.
I have followed this same philosophy when playing with my own children. My favorite place to be is on the floor next to my little boys building towers, racing cars, and scheming up exciting adventures. I adore being swept into their play world. They have a sense of awe and wonder that keeps me feeling young and energetic. It is my hope this cycle of purposeful play will continue for generations to come. It certainly won’t stop with me.
My passion for play has even led me to my career choice as a physical education teacher. I play ALL day. Seeing my students’ faces light up as they learn about what games are on the agenda never gets old. Bringing joy to others through play helps me to live out my calling on a daily basis. And, of course, play through exercise keeps me physically, mentally, and emotionally healthy, which is just icing on the cake.
My love of play has certainly shaped me into the person I am today. Play is the strength of my family. It is my link to new friendships and the driving force in maintaining those friendships. Play encourages healthy habits and motivates me to be a lifelong learner. It is my stress relief and my creative outlet. And it allows me the freedom to express myself in ways that are joyous and innovative. Play is the center of who I am, who I have been, and who I strive to be. May we all make room for a little more play in our lives. PW