When you think of play, you often imagine a happy, carefree experience with your little ones. Yet, play isn’t just fun and games but rather an essential tool in a child’s development. From peek-a-boo to hopscotch and hide-and-seek, play enriches a child’s brain, body, and life in meaningful ways. At Educate Midland, we understand the importance of play and the value it brings to your children. To help you better foster quality play, we’ve highlighted some key elements about how to achieve successful play.
Develop Physical Skill
Active play is an essential part of kids’ physical development; it helps children hone their coordination, balance, and develop fine and gross motor skills. Additionally, when kids are involved in physical activity, they’re strengthening muscles and improving bone density, heart and lung function, and preventing obesity and diabetes.
It is especially important to promote play in a time when children have so much access to technology. Technology tends to take away the amount of time children spend engaging in physical activity. While there are certainly positive aspects of technology that can be greatly beneficial to the learning experience, as a rule, parents should consider limiting screen time and set examples with the family to incorporate a healthy and active lifestyle that includes plenty of play. It’s the first step toward putting your children on a path to good physical health.
Process and Express Emotions
Play is a child’s way of creating an imaginary world of different plots and characters that reflect their emotional state, helping them learn to express and regulate their emotions. Through play, kids learn to cope with emotions like fear, frustration, anger, and aggression in situations that they can’t control. It’s also a chance for kids to practice empathy and understanding with others. Providing an emotional outlet and giving them a chance to overcome challenges gives kids a sense of accomplishment and satisfaction, ultimately helping build confidence and self-perception.
Enhance Social Skills
Playing tag, building forts, creating secret languages– some of life’s greatest moments are shared with childhood friends. By introducing cooperative play, kids can develop their social skills as they learn how to negotiate group dynamics, collaborate, and compromise with others. It also allows them to recognize and respond to others’ feelings, resolve conflicts, and adhere to the rules. In turn, these early lessons are vital as it will help establish an understanding of rules and social norms, all while gaining important relationship-building skills.
Improve Cognitive Ability
From birth to the age of three, children’s brains develop faster than at any other point in their lives. This is when they’ll start learning and fully grasping cognitive skills such as paying attention, reasoning, and remembering what they’ve learned and experienced. One of the most significant ways to stimulate a child’s brain development and reinforce valuable skills is through play. Self-directed play allows kids to sharpen decision-making skills, whereas selecting games or activities and seeing them through to the end can strengthen planning skills and attention spans. Parents can also reinforce critical thinking skills with brain teasers or puzzles, boosting their cognitive ability and setting them up for success.
“Dream big!” is a term we tell our children time and time again, and play is where it all begins. By allowing imaginations to run wild during play, they can create worlds of their own and form unique ideas and solutions to challenges. Whether this is done through a make-believe game, arts and crafts, or outdoor activities, play provides children the freedom to explore new possibilities and think outside the box.
Play gives us a look inside of what’s going on as your child grows and develops in every area – physically, emotionally, socially, cognitively, and creatively. For more information, visit our new website to find resources regarding “I am my child’s first teacher,” ways to assist in early childhood development, and much more. Together, we can make a difference in our children’s education.