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The Power of Play: Why Playtime Matters for Your Child’s Development?
Children love playing, and why not? It is fun and allows them to interact with their physical environment, which helps them learn many things. According to studies, kids who play frequently are less likely to experience anxiety, hostility, and sadness. But many parents think playing is a waste of time, which is not true as playing helps in their physical, social, and emotional development. Read the below article to learn the importance of play in a child’s development.
Sharpen their senses
While playing, children learn how to use their senses, such as vision, taste, smell, and touch. Learning about senses helps children make comparisons and differences between objects. And giving children opportunities to use their senses can help them create a stronger sensory network as they grow. Some games/activities that can help improve their visual perception, auditory perception, tactile perception, discriminatory skills, and awareness are:
- Sorting and identifying different shapes
- Reading books
- Playing different musical instruments
Enhance critical thinking
Free play helps children decide things, such as how to deal with a challenge, what game to play, etc. And one of the vital parts of developing critical thinking skills is making decisions. Playing allows children to figure out things on their own, which will help sharpen their thinking skills. A game as simple as building a tower with a block can make children analyze the situation, evaluate different approaches, and finally come to a conclusion. Some games that can help in cognitive development are- Question-based games, group activities, sorting games, story-telling, guessing games, etc.
Improves memory and attention
The hippocampus, which is primarily responsible for children's learning and memory, is positively impacted by playing outside. Playing helps them focus on a task and remember the provided information, boosting neuron growth. Also, many games require children to multi-task and remember visual information, such as strategy games and spatial puzzles. Some games that can help improve the memory and attention of your little ones are:-
- Matching games/concentration games
- Crossword puzzles
- Chess or checkers
- Team sports or group puzzles
Enhance their language and communication skills
One of the essential parts of child development is learning conversation skills, and playing can help with this; This is because, as children play, they interact with others, which stimulates them to ask questions and comprehend what others are saying, which helps develop their vocabulary and sentence structure. And better communication skills will help them build good relationships, express emotions, understand social norms, and resolve conflicts, thus aiding their social development. Some activities that can help develop communication skills in your child are:
- Games that involve role-playing, like "Patient or Doctor"
- Conversation starters games
- Board games and puzzles
Enables children to learn through exploration
Playing supports children’s independent exploration and investigation of the world. Additionally, engaging in outdoor activities enables kids to learn from others and encourages them to think creatively. You can foster their curiosity and motivate them to conduct independent research by providing opportunities to learn and gather information. Games like treasure hunts, discovery games and block-building can encourage investigative learning.
Boosts creativity and imagination
Though children are already creative, playtime can boost it to a significant level. Below are some examples of how playing helps can enhance creativity and imagination in children.
Open-ended play: Open-ended play allows children to create, analyse and experiment. Using various materials to create art and building with blocks are a few examples of open-ended play.
Pretend play: Pretend play is an interesting game in which children use their imagination to create scenarios they like, such as pretending to be a superhero. This kind of play develops children's storytelling abilities and makes them explore various roles and perspectives, improving their creativity and imagination.
Games with multiple solutions: Games such as puzzle games and building games can help children learn that there are many solutions to a problem, boosting their problem-solving skills, creativity, and imagination.
Artistic expression: Drawing, painting, and sculpting provide children with a unique and personal way to enhance their creativity.
Teach them sharing and patience
Sharing and patience are some things you can’t teach your children with just words. However, playing can help them learn these crucial aspects of life, which will help them in adulthood. For example, while playing in a park, they will see a few swings and need to wait for their turn.
Some types of play that can encourage sharing and patience in children are:
- Hide and seek
- Passing the ball game
- Playground activities
Contribute to better physical health
Last but not the least are the physical health benefits of playing. Activities such as running, jumping, walking, and basketball help develop strong muscles and bones. And as we know that bones get fully developed during teens, so you should include those activities as early as possible that help in children's overall physical development. Playing games such as ball sports and climbing helps develop spatial awareness among children (Spatial awareness is the ability to understand and influence the position, appearance, and movement of objects in space). Also, playing depletes children's energy, which aids in their sleeping and develops healthy eating habits in early children.
Early childhood education should be focused on developing skills that help kids as they mature. And playing can help children learn several things, such as critical thinking, decision-making, communication skills, and many more. So, you must encourage and provide your children with opportunities to play for their overall growth and development.