Teaching Children to Play with Context and Purpose


Bob Clagett focuses on creating context and purpose for your children as they play in his TEDx Talk.. Bob Clagett is a maker. He likes to make stuff—so much so, that his website is www.iliketomakestuff.com. Clagett use the label “stuff” because his interests cover a wide range: music, MDF, personal records in marathons, restoring vintage Vespas, user interface, computers, and children. He is a maker from the moment he wakes up to the moment he closes his eyes.

Of all of the “things” that Clagett makes, he chose not to talk about his “Son of Über Desk” that has been picked up by Apartment Therapy, LifeHacker, and Eduhacker. Instead he chose to talk about parenting and children’s play. In his TEDx Talk, Clagett challenges parents to play with their children. By shaping how children play with purpose and context, their play will be transformed.

Clagett states: “If happiness is based on success, then we want to give our kids things to value that are realistic and repeatable.” Parents can do this by choosing to be involved and to inject context, values, and realistic goals into their child’s play. As they grow older, they will continue to chase those things that make them happy over and over again.

He suggests teaching your kids to:

  • Fight for someone in need, rather than be on top.
  • Save someone, rather than win.
  • Protect someone, rather than hit.

Clagett does not claim to be a parenting expert; however, his attention to detail, context, and purpose is what helps him excel in his making ability. By parenting with purpose, you can help your children play in a realistic context and with goals that will shape their lives in meaningful ways.

Please take 8 minutes to listen to his TEDx talk.

Adam Glendye, LPC
aglendye @ growcounseling.com