They say the family that plays together, stays together, and we agree. Why not include big questions in your family’s collective playtime? Here are five reasons why doing philosophy should be part of you household’s day-to-day activities:
- Philosophy is great for any age. Children, parents, and even grandparents can find mutually interesting topics, and can benefit from the discussions and activities that arise in philosophy. According to some experts, even babies are interested in philosophical concepts. Philosophy is truly an all-ages pursuit.
- Unlike many games and activities, philosophy is not expensive. In fact, it’s free. There are no admission fees, no snacks to bring, and there’s no special equipment required. You can do it using things you already have around the house, or you can do it using nothing except your minds and your voices.
- Philosophy is play with a purpose. The skills children (and adults) learn by taking time to share in a game, an outing, or even just a good laugh, can follow them beyond the home, into their academic careers, and into the rest of their lives. Critical thinking, communication, collaboration and creativity are just a few of the cognitive muscles we flex when we do philosophy.
- Your kids are already doing it. What parent hasn’t been bombarded with “Why” questions at some point or another in their child’s development? Why not pause for a moment now and then and use your child’s natural curiosity about all things philosophical as a springboard?
- Philosophical discussions build trust between family members. If children know they can approach a sibling, a parent, or a grandparent with a big question, and that their thoughts will be given consideration and respect, they’ll be more confident in coming back when they need help or need to share. From a parent’s perspective, philosophy can be a wonderful window into how your child’s mind really works, which can also help to build trust.
- Philosophy (especially philosophy with kids) is really, really fun. It attaches nicely to all kinds of other fun activities, including arts and crafts, make-believe, music, science experiments, outdoor play, sports, and even travel. It allows participants to ask “what if”, and use their imaginations, and it teaches them to express themselves clearly. For a little thinker, getting to ask big, juicy questions is joyful, empowering, and liberating. At the same time, grown-up thinkers can recapture their childlike sense of wonder.
So, how does a family of budding philosophers get started? Check out our free downloadable parent guide, as well as the wide variety of activities on our “teach” page.