The play and world of a very young child


A Releasing Your Unlimited Creativity discussion topic

Copyright 2006 by K. Ferlic,   All Rights Reserved

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What is discussed here is the play and world of a very young child around the age of about eighteen months. This state of play does not refer to play as we would define play as an adult. Rather it is the experience of a child in the very early years before the child become aware of their own explorations of life and before they learn to focus their attention into or onto specific things.

This play is the type and kind of play that most corresponds to the most creative state of being. What is significantly different between the child’s play and that of the most creative state of being is the child’s is driven by the flow of creative life energy within the child without the awareness of the conscious mind. In a child of this age, the conscious mind has yet to develop. In the most creative state of play the awareness of the conscious mind is present. It is just that one is able to step out of mind and surrender to the flow of energy that arises

This stage of life is used because of the phenomenal developmental aspects that occur in a human at these early ages. In these early years there is very clear evidence of a tremendous body wisdom that guides the growth and development of the child as it grows from a new born infant into a self functioning human. It is this body wisdom and the related intuitive guidance into which we wish to learn to consciously tap.

If we look at the development of a child early in life, this creative state is clearly evidenced by the behavioral pattern being displayed by the child. Since the child’s creative life energy is focused and directed on motor development and the use of the body in the early few years, its conscious mental attention is not directed or focused. This natural process of development sets up the perfect mental state of play because the focus and attention of the child’s being is diverted to motor development and the mind as much as it has developed is free to roam and explore.

At this age, a child does not think of what he or she is going to do. Rather, they just run almost at random. They may stop and investigate briefly that in which they come in contact, but they often do not stay long. In contrast, as a child grows, they tend to move purposefully toward a particular object or action of their choice. The very younger child will be seen as almost meaninglessly meandering or at best exploring their world. An older child will spend longer and longer times with the object of their choice. Of course, as we become an adult, we can learn to stay focused for extremely long periods of time.

With the younger child, an adult needs to think for them. An adult can not expect too much rational action from the child. Nor can the adult expect the very small child to have a long attention span. Only as the child grows, develops and gains experiences do they become more mentally focused. Only in time do they learn to spend more time in any one activity or with any one object.

It is here lies one of the key characteristics of creative play. There is the need to become that innocent and spontaneous. The innocent child has not yet become trapped by the developed mind which tends to become focused. In this world of the very young child where they are not being constantly corrected by an adult, there is free move at will. There are no mistakes to be experienced or can be made. The child lives in a mistake free world. Mistakes are how the adult judges the child’s actions when the child does not meet the adult’s expectations.

Even if they fall and cry, they do not view their actions as a mistake. In the child’s mind, there is no one to judge their actions as a mistake. There is not internal or external judgment levied or placed on what happens. Frequently they will go back to exactly what they were doing and taking the fall in stride as if it is only part of the process of experiencing life.

In the child’s development, it takes about two and a half years before the child is so focused that they go directly to what it is they desire or fits their interest at the moment. Before that time, there is exploration with a gradual tapering off with less and less randomness seemly associated with their actions. Before this time the child is at an age where it is overwhelmed and consumed with the development of its motor skills such that it mental focus is free to go to what catches its attention. It is also an excellent demonstration of how diversion works in that the mind is free to explore because so much of the child being is focused on motor development.

It can be said that the seeming randomness and chaotic state we see in the very young child, it is analogous to the chaotic and liquid state of recasting a piece of iron to which referred was made in the discussion of the “Chaos of creation.” What has been observed in the creative process is that this random and seemingly chaotic process is necessary. It is necessary if we are going to fully explore the new aspect of being and to allows ourselves to become focused in a natural way without any expectations.

In looking at this child like play, there are a few other observations that need to be made about a child’s life and play at this at this age.

Freedom to process pain: One of the more important characteristic of the child at this age is that the child is normally, unless controlled by a parent or care giver, free to cry when they are hurt and feel pain. Whether they fall and bruise themselves, or are annoyed that they are not permitted to get what they want, or they get frustrated at not being able to do something, they are free to cry about it. And cry they will. They are free to process what they feel as they feel it. However, once the pain and hurt is processed they go on about their life. In this state of play, the child cries when they feel like crying to process and remove the pain and discomfort they feel about life. As we grow up we lose this ability to cry for “adults don’t cry (at least like a child freely cries),”Yet we never learn something equivalent and as effective for processing the pain that we feel.

Free to focus on what is: A second thing is that when a child enters a given playroom, what is in the environment greatly determines on what the child ultimately ends up focusing their attention. What needs to be understood is that given a different room, although pattern of exploration can be expected to be the same, the final object of focus will based on the selection that is available in the room.

This seems obvious, but it is very important from another perspective. That on what we focus on in any given environment reflects what is internal to us, not what is in the environment. We tend to make do with what is available to us and we choose that which best fits the focus that we generate because of what we have available to us in the environment.

If we try a little experiment with ourselves and others, we will find this is true. Just choose some different setting and see to what we are drawn. Then pull the string on why we drawn to what we were drawn as opposed to something else in the environment. We can also do this with others. We can see to what they are drawn and why. In doing this, what we will see is how what we are drawn to reflects our inner beliefs, understanding and patterns of choice. We will also see what we choose is not necessarily what we would like but rather the best we can do given what we have choose from.

Freedom and enthusiasm to explore: What also needs to be realized is that if we do not become aware that we can change our environment, we are always be making do with what is available in to our current environment. It can probably be generally said that the approach to life of an a child between one and two can be characterized as an innocence in their approach to what they do and a willingness to try. There is an enthusiasm for life and what they do such that if that enthusiasm is not present we being to wonder if the child is sick or is having some problem. There is a trust within the child because fear is not yet known or understood. Additionally, the memories are not present that bind the expression of the child’s current being.

Free to speak our truth: In play children talk when the have something to say and they freely say it. They are quiet when the have nothing to say. They speak their truth as they know it freely and willingly without any judgments. Again as we grow we lose our ability to talk freely. We are told to think before we speak. We are taught to engage the analytical and controlling mind before we express ourselves and if what we think will not get the approval we seek, we dismiss or even deny what we think and feel. We eventually give up our preferred way of feeling, thinking and speaking in favor of an acceptable way of feeling, thinking and speaking. We especially learn a way that will not cause us to suffer any form of punishment or cause anger on the part of our caretakers.

Can be alone and with ourselves: When a child in this early state of play and they are by themselves, the child does not feel alone for they are willing to play and be by themselves. They are not afraid of being alone in this play. If they want a playmate or to be picked up and feel being held, they come and ask for to play or they ask to be picked up in one way or another.

True to who we are in the moment: In many ways you can say that in this child like state of play one is completely true to the truth that is their being as it exist in the moment of time. There are no mental judgments, opinions or other types of influence from the mind on one’s actions. The child is completely true to who and what they are and what they are feeling in the moment.

In learning from the play of this the young child, the first big hurtle that needs to be faced as an adult is what are the external influences and/or internal judgments, biases and expectations that we carry that does not allows to enter this state of play were we are free to sample what is before us and allowing our own nature to determine the next item to be experienced. To be in a realm where you are truly free to create one needs to: (1) be free to explore the unknown;(2) have freedom from mistakes; (3) have no expectations as to the outcome as to what we are drawn to or what the final from looks like; (4) to be able to surrender to the flow and allow the next important step arise to meet us; and (5) we have internal satisfaction in the process. This realm where this is all possible is like the playful state of a very young child as described above.

Related topics
Loss of creative play
Adult creative state of play
Creative states and the most creative state
Creative play - The key characteristic of the Source of Creation

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