Back from a very fun and adventurous family vacation last month, provided many learning opportunities while playing. About three years ago, we started a new family tradition to take family vacations during Christmas time. This was the time of year we had everyone together. As empty nesters my husband and I wanted to establish a tradition that our daughters would build into their future families. This gift of time together, was our Christmas gift to each other. We select a destination spot and our daughters do all the planning of activities for the vacation. It just happened that our last destination spot is well known for its many outdoor activities. Each day, we had a chance to learn something new while having fun.
Since I am the only one in the family that doesn’t do water fun, there is a substitute activity for me when everyone is on water. Sailboat day was one of such. My husband and the girls went sail boating for the first time and I had a new book I brought to read sitting by the harbor. Not too soon when they left to sail, a sweet lady came and joined me where I was sitting. This woman’s family was also sailing for the first time and she too doesn’t do water fun! Coincidence? Not at all! It was divinely orchestrated. She also had a book in her hand. We instantly connected and did more talking than reading. About an hour into our talk, a guy walks up to us from inside the bay and asks where we are both from. We both asked him the same question, almost at the same time, where is he from. He went on to tell us, he is originally from East Texas and now lives on the harbor in his boat in San Diego. What? Lives in a boat? That piqued my interest- I wanted to know more. What made him decide to live in a boat? Did he have a family? What school does his children go to and how do they get to school? The man answered all our questions. He figured we would be interested in his chosen lifestyle since it was out of the norm. I learned so much through that experience that it deepened my understanding and scope in different areas. My new friend was stunned anyone would live in a boat. As a writer and author, she felt the learning experience would be a great story plot for her next writing project. So while playing, we both learned some things.
How does this relate to balancing the hectic school/classroom routine during this time to get students ready for the tests? Since Spring semester can be a stressful time for educators, carving out time in the daily school/classroom routine to play while learning is essential. It could be as simple as playing board games for few minutes, or giving students free time to sketch, draw, color, or allowing students to share their favorite movie, song or book. It could even be to the extent that Mr. Ron Clark- an inspiring educator who has worked with a diverse group of students (founder of the Ron Clark Academy in Atlanta, Georgia) understands the necessity of play while learning. He knows first hand how to play together with his students and how to pique their interest in those rigorous subjects. Mr. Clark was shown recently on CBS doing the Milly Rock, Hit the Quan, Whip, Nae Nae dance with his middle school students. Click on this link: Take a look at the video and be inspired to play while learning: Love & Blessings!
“All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy,
All play and no work makes Jack a mere toy '