A speech-language pathologist reminds parents why ‘toys are cool’ at any age

If you’ve noticed that your child is suddenly uninterested in their toys or expresses worries that they’re “too old” to play, one mom and speech-language pathologist is here with a friendly reminder that play is important for kids of all ages.

TikTok user Alexis (@practicallyspeeching) recently shared the PSA with her followers, captioning the clip, “Toys are cool. This is my soapbox. Thanks.” Speaking to the camera, she said, “As a mom and school SLP, I am unsure when third, fourth, and fifth grade became sixth, seventh, and eighth grade. But rest assured, your 8-year-old should still be playing with toys.”

“It’s okay, and as parents, we should be encouraging them to play with toys,” she continued. “Stop forcing these kids to grow up so quickly. And I realize that kindergarten is now the new second grade, and that’s a whole other ball of wax, but we need to be playing. You don’t need to be acting 12 when you are 9.”

In the caption of her post, she said, “There are going to be some pissed off parents in the comments, I’m sure lol.” But plenty of commenters agreed with Alexis, explaining why a lack of play-based learning in schools isn’t helping matters much.

“School psych here- 100% agree. I have kindergarteners telling me ‘Barbies are for babies’ 😳” commented one user. Another user added: “I don’t understand why we push play-based learning until PreK, and then once they hit K we never let them play again.”

One parent said: “My kinder came home with a packet of work for winter break…nope. Not gonna do it. He’ll be enjoying a break and extra play time.” Yet another school staffer asked, half-jokingly, “Yes why do my students have a skincare routine.”

Others seemed to think that constant access to devices minimizes interest in play, sharing that they try to limit their children’s usage whenever possible. No matter the reason, it’s such a bummer to think that kids aren’t given ample opportunity to play, because they deserve time and space to enjoy whatever fuels them creatively whether they’re a tot, a teen, or any age in between. More play, please! Let their brains and bodies have a break from time to time. We all need that, and kiddos are no exception.

A version of this story was originally published on Jan. 3, 2024. It has been updated.

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