Children need the freedom and time to play. Play is not a luxury. Play is a necessity.
Kay Redfield Jamison
I wanted to write about the benefits of meaningful play in a child’s life.
Then realised that the definition of ‘meaningful play’ depends entirely on your own interpretation of ‘play’.
Fifty adults in a room could all have their definition of play ranging from the very negative to the extremely positive.
What do you think about play?
Does it differ from your personal definition of ‘meaningful play?
Asking a couple of seven year olds what they thought about play, gave these answers:
“It’s bestest when Daddy and Mummy aren’t there (“why”) because they ruin the games and want me to be quiet.”
“I can do it on my own or with my friends’
“I laugh when I play”
This story from the MailOnline shows how the other half think of children’s play.
Play is crucial in children’s development.
Through play they can learn about the world around them, problem solving, gross and fine motor skills, social skills and a whole range of new and interesting vocabulary.
Giving children resources so they can choose their own play helps with imaginative development, decision making and creative thinking. A cardboard box can be anything from a cave, to a rocket, to a train, to a whole plethora of imaginative items. A toy train is a toy train and as much as it seems to be creative it has nothing on the cardboard box. It’s so much cheaper as well.
Play keeps children fit and healthy through energetic games. There are so many physical benefits to play rather than sitting in front of a screen and using a thumb and finger.
As well as physical benefits, play has an emotional benefit. Children love to play and can express themselves in ways they cannot in more structured environment. Stress and anxiety can be reduced leading to happy and contented children. Playing in a safe environment give children the opportunity to find out about the world and people around them.
In the world of a child, play and learning are one and the same thing. They aren’t separate entities but inextricably linked. The best type of play is the spontaneous and unscripted type. The opportunity for problem solving and decision making are unlimited.
Children need play for every area of their development; cognitive behaviour, language and vocabulary, social skills, emotional development, physical fitness and problem solving. It isn’t something that should be trivialised.
Children who are constantly immersed in play are also constantly immersed in learning. Giving children as much time as possible to play is so much more beneficial and fun than learning from a worksheet or in formal setting.
Outside play has all the other benefits of play with the added bonus of the children becoming exhausted
and sleeping peacefully and deeply throughout the night – for some parents and carers this can be the most important benefits.
Of course, the best thing about play is it is fun. Children enjoy playing and so, enjoy learning even if they don’t realise it.
Let the children play so they can develop into adults who can make this world a better place.
I hadn’t realised I had written this many posts about the benefits of play. Click this link if you’d like to read more:)