Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Learning Through Play

This is my living room.

There is one thing you should notice right away from taking a look at it.

It's all about my kids.

I decided a long time ago that my home would be all about them.

This means my house is not going to be furnished with antiques and expensive decor. I will not be going with any interior design themes such as "French Country Side," or "Spanish Colonel." I will not be trying to hide my kids toys away in a fancy steamer trunk or custom made cabinetry.

What this does mean is that I want my kids to have their toys out an accessible! My furniture should be cheap and easily replaceable. It means if my son wants a skateboard ramp going from his bed room to the garage I'm all for it. If I need to convert my dining room into a play house for my daughter, the play house wins. And there's good reason for this.

I have always believed my home should be two things fun and functional. Having to worry if this or that is going to wreck the sofa is not fun. Having a hard edged, rare, antique coffee table that could practically scalp you if you were to fall on it wrong, that you can't even put your feet on, let alone a soft drink without damaging it is not functional.

The more access my kids have to playing, climbing and working with their toys, the more they're able to learn about the world around them.

The more they can play the more they are able to develop and utilize their imaginations, their motor skills and their creativity. The key reason why my living room looks like it does is for my kids to have the best possible environment I can give them to develop and foster their inherent somatic intelligence.

Unfortunately as we grow older and become adults we stop playing, we no longer get on the ground and roll around. We don't try to climb up anything, jump off anything, crawl over anything, or just make up stuff.

If fact we seem to go the opposite direction. We put on suites, ties, designer and restrictive clothing that doesn't allow us to move freely or naturally. We decorate our homes with fancy expensive furniture that cannot be played on and we spend most of our day working not just at work but everywhere.

As a result we loose touch with our bodies, we are no longer developing our somatic intelligence. Our proprioceptive, kinesthetic awareness gets lost. The athletic abilities we had in our youth diminish much faster than we actually age.

It is therefore fundamentally important to engage yourself in playful, physical activities throughout the rest of your life.

This is also why Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu and the Crazy Monkey Defense Program are so awesome.

They are both playful, fun, physical, activities that can continuously challenge ones proprioceptive, and kinesthetic ability on an on going basis.

Similar to my kids playing in the living room.