Play is serious business for childrens intelligence
- Andrew Jones
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Play is serious business. It is an essential part in a child’s early growth and development, says Dr. Laura Markham a child psychologist from Brookline. Though a lot of people especially the parents consider play as a diversionary tactic that enables them to buy some time for themselves, the benefits of play to children cannot be overlooked.
As the old saying goes, “All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy.” It couldn’t be truer for kids. Play is where children develop necessary life skills. It is where they learn about themselves, others and the world around them. Through play, children learn how to get along with others, develop their motor and language skills just to name a few.
Since play is such a vital component of a child’s life, parents need to actively participate in it. They should ensure that play time can be stimulating to kids without them being intrusive. They can do this by planning and creating an environment where play becomes an integral part in their children’s daily routine. Also, parents should make sure that they provide their kids with toys that would help them develop their skills and capabilities in a variety of ways. And lastly, they should join their kids’ play whenever necessary and whenever they are invited.
It’s important to plan and monitor a child’s play time but it should be done in moderation. As a matter of fact, it’s more advisable for parents to allow their children to choose their own activities and whenever possible, the time and duration of such activities. Parents should ensure that every play time is stimulating and varied, that it’s done at different times with different companions and sometimes by themselves.
Below are 5 activities that are proven and tested to be conducive to a child’s learning:
1.) Projective play
Otherwise known as role playing, in this activity, children interject dramatic or emotional meaning to whatever they do with the use of toys like trucks, dolls, homemaking sets, doctor kits, soldiers, guns etc. It doesn’t develop a specific skill per se but it enables children to empathize or relate to whatever role they’re trying to play at the moment.
Considered to be the most basic among all types of play, games enable children to develop certain skills that they need to prepare them for adult life. Games can either be physical or mental but whatever the type is, all of them play a key role in the lives of children as they transition from infancy to adolescence. Examples of such games are baseball, pat-a-cake, peek-a-boo, chess and more.
Hobbies allow kids to develop skills, patience, a sense of responsibility and most of all, acquire new knowledge. Popular hobbies include collecting rocks, sea shells, cards, stamps, coins, butterflies and insects among other things. So long as parents monitor their kids’ hobbies, this activity can be a very productive endeavour for them.
4.) Arts and Crafts
What a better way to bring out the creative drive and imaginative nature of children than arts and crafts. From drawing to painting, clay modelling and paper and glue crafts, you name it; these activities bring out the inner artist of every child. In the world of technologically advanced gizmos and gadgets, it’s important that every parent encourages their children to get their hands dirty and do some good ol’ fashion art activities. Not only do these activities bring out the creativity in every child but they also help them develop skills in perception, analysis and manipulation.
5.) Construction Play
Perhaps less challenging or creative than arts and crafts, construction play still enable kids to develop skills such as stacking and drawing. It also builds their confidence and gives them a sense of satisfaction. Examples of such activity include building sandcastles and snowmen as well as making towers out of building blocks and assembling plastic train tracks just to name a few.
Most often than not, most child’s play can be classified into one of the five activities mentioned above. As much as possible, every kid should include all of these types in their play time. Just remember that as they mature, kids’ skills also develop so it’s only but logical to introduce a more advanced and mature kind of play whenever necessary.
It has been documented that children don’t naturally vary or diversify their play so it’s important for parents to step in and introduce them to a whole spectrum of play. Parents can buy toys that would lead to new pursuits, interject certain activities during playtime or make suggestions when needed or if they asked for it. Parents should not attempt to manage or regulate their child’s play because doing so would hamper their learning process.
Instead, they should steer their kids to the right direction hoping that they would follow suit and don’t lose interest. If it doesn't work at first, be creative and come up with ways that would generate interest among the kids. After all, play is a serious business for children’s intelligence so it’s only but necessary to leave no stone unturned.