Lessons on entertaining ourselves indoors from the masters of simple play

I’ve been in lockdown for a week now. I’m in Naples, Italy, and the coronavirus containment measures caught me, my husband and my child at my parents’ place, during a visit. Since we have a nomadic lifestyle, and no home, we simply had to stay put as the country shut down overnight. 

While living together without going out can be challenging at times, Lorenzo, who is one year old now, is showing us adults that entertainment can be pretty easy, even indoors.

He can find a dry leaf on the floor and walk around with it for a while until he finds a box he can reach and hides the leaf. Then he goes away and picks some magnets off the fridge and hides them under the fridge, circles back to the box and picks up the dried leaf. He does this, on repeat, until he feels like having a nap.

While I had to dust off some old board games to think of ways to play with my parents, Lorenzo seems to be able to play all the time. 

But is he really playing? The saying goes that if everything is play, then nothing is play… So, what exactly is play, and why do toddlers seem to do it so much more spontaneously than us adults?

I have started researching play, and I will be dedicating some time to it. And, as more and more of us get confined to our homes, I’ll take advantage of your attention to hear your thoughts about my new research subject.

1. What would you like to learn about play?

2. How do you think play in early childhood has chang…

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