This week’s quote on play comes from Abraham Maslow, the psychologist who developed the hierarchy needs. Maslow’s hierarchy of needs informs our motivation as humans. It’s laid out like a triangle with our most basic physiological needs at the base and widest part of the triangle. As those needs are met we move up the triangle to safety. Once we feel safe and secure, we move up to needing love and belonging. When we feel love and belonging, then we have esteem needs, including self-esteem, mastery, and independence. Once those needs are met, we seek self-actualization or finding a higher purpose in our life and understanding our path. One of the characteristics of self-actualized people, according to Maslow, is highly creative. Here Maslow is making a connection for us between achieving creativity and play. All our basic needs must be met in order to have purposeful play which leads to creativity.
As I pondered “purposeful play” the idea of playing on purpose reminded me of “intentional.” When I read about intentional parenting, the idea is that we are taking charge by interacting with our children instead of only reacting to them. How I see this relating to play is that often we define play as what kids do when they aren’t working (homework, chores, getting ready, etc.), but really, we need to create spaces and opportunities that invite play. They can be pre-planned or spontaneous, but you must make an active choice to engage with your little one in play.
This is one approach to play. I find this quote highly inspiring for me to create opportunities for play for our kids. However, I also believe Stuart Brown who advocates that play is a basic need and neglecting play has serious consequences in the lower stages of Maslow’s hierarchy. However we approach it, play is important!
“Almost all creativity involved purposeful play.” – Abraham Maslow
Please share how your child is creative during their play time!