People tend to perceive playing as an activity that should be allowed after learning. Some parents typically try to curb playing in their children to the barest minimum. However, play in children is actually the most effective way to build their cognitive, social, physical and emotional well-being. Studies have shown how beneficial playing can be to children and youths.
Playing is so essential that it has been recognized as a right for children by the United Nations High Commission for Human Rights. Despite the obvious benefits of play, a lot of people still do not associate playing with learning.
Here are some amazing ways that play can be beneficial to children:
BRAIN STIMULATION DEVELOPMENT
When a child grows in an environment enriched in play, it provides a perfect ground for life experiences to be created and learnt from. Equipping children with sensory play and play materials will help their brains easily adapt to the concept of capturing information and processing it as a means to make decisions. This would in turn help to lay a solid foundation for the brain’s development.
It has been discovered that offering infants toys to play with can help to boost their IQ. Children who have been exposed to early playing are likely to exhibit higher intelligence later in life.
SPARKS CREATIVITY IN CHILDREN
When children are allowed to play, especially free play, they are automatically exposed to an environment that requires them to use their imagination. With a very active imagination comes a very creative mind. Free play is an unstructured play that encourages children to come up with games of their own – this leads to pretend play where children are able to create pretend scenarios and navigate through them using their imagination. The freedom that comes with that allows for children to be more creative.
LAYS THE FOUNDATION FOR LITERACY
Playing can help children learn and practice new sounds with themselves or with playmates. They can try out new vocabulary and exercise their imagination through storytelling and oration. This would help to boost their literacy in ways that reading or studying a new skill might not be able to.
ENCOURAGES ADULT-CHILDREN BOND
One of the most crucial benefits of play is the bond it can help to create between parents and their children. Parents who take out time to play with their children have been known to have a strong bond developed over time with them. Play encourages parents to communicate with their children to understand their preferences, when to intervene and when not to.
HELPS WITH IMPULSE CONTROL
Children tend to be impulsive and often impatient; this can be seen in their urge to grab things out of others’ hands or a lack of impatience to wait their turn. However, exposing your child to play early is one way to help reduce impulsiveness and regulate their emotions. This is especially crucial for kids who are about to resume school. It can help to encourage a healthy relationship with other kids. Children who have been exposed to play have been known to exhibit a more sociable appearance and they easily liked by others.
AIDS PHYSICAL AND MENTAL HEALTH
The benefit of play to children’s physical and mental health cannot be overemphasized. When children engage in play that involves physical activities, it helps to promote resilience, motor skills, strength and endurance. Play is like an exercise for the brain and with the right exercises, a child’s mental health can be immensely improved.
Apart from being beneficial to children, play can help adults to remember what being children used to be like and this can help relieve stress and anxiety that comes with navigating adulthood. Encouraging play in children will help them learn and develop as smoothly as possible.
Playing is learning, playing is fun, playing teaches empathy and patience, playing is all around a moulding agent for a child.