Playing is an essential part of development and one of the main areas in which kids learn. In turn they’ll develop all their social physical and intellectual skills. When kids are focused on a game they’ll be learning ongoing life skills. Play underpins formal learning later in childhood, enabling the child to develop a self worth. Play should be spontaneous, fun and enjoyable, but also involve an element of make-believe, without set rules unless the child suggests it. Besides all the play time games, toys and parks, consider nature as play, as not only is it healthy it will teach the child about the environment and allow them to be inquisitive and more independent.
A favourite game has always been the jolly old cardboard box, as this precious item can become the child’s house, bed, a car, or a place in which to hide. Their imagination and learning from this box will take on a whole new aspect and be a lot of fun in the process.
All kids love the attention gained from others around them. It’s essential to involve them in whatever you’re doing and make it enjoyable and a part of playtime. They’ll be continually learning, and you’ll have fun seeing how they use their imaginations on something as simple as perhaps seeing teddy marrying a doll. Everything will be acted out, and if it’s a group game, then taking turns and sharing will be learned.
Play gives children a chance to practice what they’re learning, and is the key to enriching teamwork, expression and inquiry in kids. They learn through their imaginations, and they build their mental and emotional muscles as they create a system of rules that govern their play.
Everything such as communication, cognitive development and relationship building are paramount skills learned through play. Language is much more than the spoken word and all kids talk and listen while they play. It’s fascinating to hear their little phrases, and the more communication the child has per day then the greater the variety of words will be incorporated into their play. If a child is deprived of play then long-term issues such as problem solving, social and academic levels are lessened.
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