Parents, child care professionals, and education professionals alike all understand that most children enjoy playing.
Children will naturally start playing from being toddlers and continue playing throughout their childhood.
However, play isn’t just fun. Encouraging children to play provides them with a different avenue of learning. Children learn in the classroom, true, but most of their development occurs outside of the classroom with their parents and their peers.
How Children Learn Through Play
According to scientific research over the past few decades, the most important stage of human development occurs between birth and eight years of age. This is where children develop cognitive skills, emotional strength, social skills, and physical and mental health.
Essentially, this period lays the groundwork for successful adulthood. Yes, people’s brains continue to develop throughout their lives, especially during the first twenty-five years of life, but this early period is crucial.
Playtime helps children to develop these skills and traits in a well-rounded way. The type of play impacts the type of learning. For example, if a child plays with other children their age, they develop social skills and learn how to work with others to have fun. They can develop relationships with other children and understand them better.
Creative play helps children to express themselves and develops their creativity. If they’re working with paints or pens, then they will also develop fine motor skills. Role-playing games, where children make up stories and roles, help them to be more creative and more social.
Physical games, such as sports or other games, are another great way to help children learn how to work as a team while exercising. Puzzle games or building blocks are a brilliant way to exercise children’s brains and creativity, while still allowing them to have fun. Even some video games can assist in this development when playtime is carefully monitored.
Not every child will excel at all types of play, and you will find that some children lean towards physical, team-based play, while others prefer quiet and creative play. So, how can you help children to play in a well-balanced and beneficial way?
How You Can Encourage Educational Play
When children are young, playtime should be monitored. Sometimes, an adult will allow children to play freely, simply preventing things from getting out of hand. In this case, you should provide appropriate toys for play.
School playground equipment is a vital tool to allow children to play physically, either on their own or with other children. An adult should supervise play, especially among young children, to prevent injury or other issues that may arise.
However, adults can also get more involved with playtime, guiding the activities to help the child to have a well-rounded experience. Parents should encourage their younger children to play with them. Rather than simply providing toys or a screen, parents should actively engage and interact with their children, so that they can bond with the child and help them to develop. In short, playtime is more than just good fun. It’s an integral part of your child’s development.