Families will often say to us, “My child is too old to play”. However, after speaking with the family about what their child’s affinities are, we soon learn that their child does in fact play.
Play is therapeutic by its nature. It provides opportunities to do what we love, to relax and work through issues. Play also affords us time to be with friends as we engage in mutually enjoyable activities. How we play, who we play with, and what we choose to play with changes over the years. Although play changes we never, or we should never, stop playing.
Even if your child is a preteen, teen or even an adult they still need time to play every day. That is why at Friend 2 Friend we create Play Groups that are individually designed to the player’s affinities, needs, and skills. For example, Friend 2 Friend has created several “Gamers Clubs” in high schools and at our Play Centres in Vancouver BC. Continuing to use the principles and practices of the combined Integrated Play Groups®, SCERTS® and Autism Demystification® models, the materials and structure of the group are modified to fit the age and interests of the players. The players always direct the play, activities and materials while play guides provide social, communication and emotional support.
So, the next time you feel your child is too old to play try to think carefully about what they do that is meaningful, relaxing and enjoyable to them and how that may be their play. Once you have identified these activities, then consider how you can make that “play” into an opportunity to make friends and feel part of a group of same-aged peers.
Play is good for us – all of us – regardless of our age, skills, abilities and affinities!