IT’S NOT JUST PLAY!
This write up highlights the importance of Play in a child’s life
When kids are asked about what they think is vital in their lives, playing and friends are typically at the top of the list.
Children’s playtime has tremendously decreased due to changes in the way children are expected to spend their time, parent concerns for safety, and digital media use. It also includes a greater emphasis on academic preparation, working parents with little free time to care for children, and limited access to outdoor play spaces.
But with all the structured activities and the strictly automate lives children lead these days, some are left without any real time to play. Even when given time to play, they get too tired after participating in all the organized activities and take advantage of the opportunity.
When children play, they engage with their environment in a safe context in which ideas and behaviours can be combined and practiced.
Play is a necessary a part of each child’s life and is significant for the enjoyment of childhood as well as social, emotional, intellectual and physical development.
Children develop their problem solving and flexible thinking, learn how to process and display emotions, manage fears and interact with others.
Free, unstructured play allows children to practice making decisions without guided instructions. They can initiate their own freely chosen activities and experiment with open-ended rules. Children learn about the world through play. They discover how to solve problems and interact with others. They learn how to express their thoughts and feelings, as well as resolve conflicts. Children develop commutative skills through play. They also understand and adopt social rules and expectations. Free play encourages kids to use their imagination and all their senses – sight, smell, hearing, touch, and taste. They experiment with different situations and consequences during play time. The ability to discover the world in such a protected environment benefits children’s development on every level.
Because it’s fun, kids typically become immensely absorbed in what they’re doing.
Many children are born with a natural ability to play, but some children find it challenging and need to ‘learn’ how to play well and this is where Parents can make a big difference. Whilst it is very important that children play with their peers and are given opportunities for unstructured play, children who also play with a caring adult can benefit greatly – the benefits of having fun together cannot be undermined!
Play is therefore vital to optimum kid development that it has been recognized by the UN as a basic right of each kid.
“Children are designed, by natural selection, to play,” wrote Peter Gray, Ph.D., a research professor at Boston College. “Wherever children are free to play, they do.”
In a time when so many parents deal with chaotic schedules, it’s good to remember the importance of a little free time. Some of the best interactions between parents and children happen during downtime—just talking, preparing meals together, and working on a hobby or art project, playing sports together, or being fully immersed in child-centred play.
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