Kathy Hirsh-Pasek: The Future of Play

For Part 3 of the Voices on the Future of Childhood series, we asked experts to offer their insights and predictions on what play will—or better yet, should—look like when families are released from isolation. 

Discovering the genius in boredom: Life after COVID-19

Kathy Hirsh-PasekKathy Hirsh-Pasek, PhD, Professor of Psychology at Temple University, is a Senior Fellow at the Brookings Institution, popular author, and proud mother and grandmother.

The post-COVID child emerges as a master of her own time and space. No longer needing to be entertained and stimulated from without, she is now creator within, the queen of her own imagination.  The young artist sees how random pieces of papers and pipe cleaners can be sculptured to adorn her room, how she has the power to write a book with illustrations, even though she is only four. This child discovered the scientist who carefully arranges pots and pans to create different kinds of waterfalls in the kitchen sink. She is the one who crafts a goal and works towards it even if she has failed attempts along the way. 

As the world becomes more and more automatized, creators and innovators will rule. The play mastered in quarantine, with loving adults tethered to Zoom calls and emails, became a gift that prepared our children for the world and for the workplace to come. Play holds the crucible of success incorporating the very suite of skills that they will need to thrive: communication, collaboration (team play), content, critical thinking, creative innovation, and confidence (grit and growth mindset)—also known as the 6Cs from Becoming Brilliant. The ability to fill their own time with purpose and creativity, joy and wonder will define play as children move into the post-COVID-19 world, and it promises to be a rich adventure, where children, not adults, guide the way.


See more posts in this series:

Voices on the Future of Childhood

Bo Stjerne Thomsen | Helen Hadani | Jill Vialet | Kathy Hirsh-Pasek | Kathryn E. Ringland |
Makeda Mays Green | Roger Hart | Ronda Jackson | Rosanna Lopez

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