Play Creates the World

Ben loves Playmobil.   LOVES it!  He took the photo you see above.  It is a Roman fortress (in case you couldn’t tell).   Recently he spent a bunch of his saved up money to buy 37 Roman Playmobil soldiers.   It was a big decision, but since they’ve arrived there have been many fights to the death in the arena, either against gladiators or lions, as well as the capturing of prisoners, who are then brought to this fortress and made to fight their way out, if they can.   Most of them, needless to say, are so outnumbered they don’t make it, despite their own formidable skills with a broadsword.   The Playmobil website has several games featuring the soldiers, Ben’s favorite of which is something called ‘the wooden sword’ in which you fight against the Romans in the arena.   He tells me that the Roman soldiers in the video are not as good with their swordfighting as his are, and they don’t have the bonus of a fortress built just for them, with secret exits and entrances only they know about.

There are days when hours of Ben’s time is spent in this amazing world he creates, and it always pains me if I must interrupt him for something so trivial as say, a doctor or dentist appointment.   Is there anything better than losing yourself in your imagination?    It’s what Maya loves about her books.   She told me last week that “books give you the world”.    It’s such a shame that adults forget the joy of play and imagination, but it’s also no wonder.   Once the bulk of your time is spent in school preparing for ‘the real world’, the imaginary one tends to fade away.   I think this is even more prevalent now than when I was in school, because kids now bring home hours of homework and are often in so many organized activities, they are rarely given the luxury of free time to daydream, play, and read any book that might catch their fancy and not just those on a required reading list.

The next time a kids asks you to play with them, say yes.   Even if it’s only for a few minutes.   Don’t censor yourself, or let that voice in your brain tell you that it’s stupid, or you’ll look silly, or any of those other learned self-criticisms we carry around.   I guarantee that if you really allow yourself, you’ll have fun, and your imagination will thank you.

“Imagination is more important than knowledge. For knowledge is limited to all we now know and understand, while imagination embraces the entire world, and all there ever will be to know and understand.”
- Albert Einstein  (of course!)

About Amy

Amy Milstein was born and raised on a farm in Indiana, but after 20+ years considers herself a full-fledged New Yorker. She is married with two kids, who do not go to school but are instead life learners. This means they learn by living in the world (real life ) instead of hearing about it and simulating it in a classroom. With her family, Amy loves to travel, read, watch movies, write, sew, knit - the list is endless.
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