Michael Rosen is challenging parents with the questions, “When did you last make time for play?” Why does it matter? And in his new book has 101 suggestions to get more of it in your life!

You may be a bit afraid that you have ‘forgotten how to play’. I promise you, you have not. Play does not require you to be a creative genius (although it may help you to become one). The world around us is an even more limitless resource than the internet to encourage play. Our concept of play is bound up with the idea that play is inseparably connected to childhood, while adulthood is connected to seriousness and responsibility. I believe play is key to helping us develop and reach our full potential. So, I don’t care how old you are, seven or 70, however old you are you are never too old to play.

Making It Up  

I am an improviser, an ad-libber, and a blagger. So are you. We are all ready to give things a go, make things up on the –if we weren’t the human race would not have survived.

What Would Happen If?

Players take it in turns to come up with a ‘what if …’ situation, and the others say what they think would happen.

What would happen if …

All the trees in the world had no leaves?
All the cars were gone?
Everybody wore the same clothes?
You could fly?
No one cleaned the house?
There were no police?
People couldn’t make babies anymore?

Rainforest in a bottle

Why not bring a bit of nature indoors? Build your very own tiny rainforest.

You will need:

  • a large plastic bottle or clear jar that you can seal;
  • some flower seeds and some moss;
  • a cup full of soil;
  • half a cup of gravel or small stones.

To construct your rainforest:

  • cut the bottle in half;
  • sprinkle some gravel in the bottom (this will act as drainage);
  • sprinkle the soil on top and plant your seeds in it; top this with a layer of moss;water it;
  • cut a slit in the top half of the bottle so that you can squeeze it back over the bottom half, and seal with Sellotape.

Voila! A rainforest in a bottle – it creates its own tiny ecosystem, so you won’t even have to water it.

Michael Rosen is one of the best-loved figures in the children’s book world, renowned for his work as a poet, performer, broadcaster, educational campaigner and Children’s Laureate(2007-2009). His bestselling books include We’re Going on a Bear Hunt and Quick Let’s Get Out of Here.

Edited excerpt from Michael Rosen’s Book of Play (HB, £14.99) with illustrations by Charlotte Trounce is published on October 10 by Wellcome Collection, part of Wellcome, a global charitable foundation that exists to help improve health for everyone.

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