To see a child completely absorbed in play, away in a world of her own, is to see a child happy and fulfilled. Solitary play is great for kids, and one of the best protections against chronic loneliness – if they always have their inner world to explore and enjoy, they’ll build resilience, imagination, creativity and their sense of self. Solitary play never goes out of fashion, and you need never grow out of it. Seeing the world through a child’s eyes was what Matisse and Picasso both said took all their adult lives to learn.
What in children might be naivete and innocence can be the best defence against cynicism and alienation in later life – hanging on to the clarity and freshness of children’s wonder at the world helps keep us positive, interested and playful throughout our lives.