Play is such an important part of life for children - and maybe more valuable than you've ever realised. Here's why...
Kids have a burning desire to play; in fact it’s probably their superpower because while they’re having fun, children are - quite brilliantly - engaging in something which is crucial to their optimal development and wellbeing. Happy days! Yes, play - especially child-driven play - is so important for kids, so parents need to make sure there is time to have unstructured fun because schedules, routines and responsibilities mean that modern life is busy. Want to know more? Here’s the lowdown:
Play allows kids to be creative and develop their imagination. Running around, making up complex scenarios and imaginary characters like kings and queens, monsters and fairies helps children to strengthen their physical, cognitive and emotional strengths.
It is also important for brain development. By playing, children at a very early age learn to engage and interact in the world. Skills and qualities such as independence, creativity, curiosity and problem-solving come to the fore. Interestingly, children are strengthening connections in their brain that would weaken or vanish if they weren’t able to play.
Healthy emotional development begins with play. Children release emotions, process their feelings and learn to work through and understand things by play-acting in situations they are in control of. Through play kids can develop the self-confidence required for new experiences and environments; they also learn to fail, which is necessary to then succeed.
Play plays a vital part in helping children to develop social skills, because they learn to get along with others, take turns and much more. Kids gain healthy emotional development by playing, because it allows them to express their conscious and unconscious experiences, their feelings about their life and things that are going on around them. Even playing alone can help a child gain self-confidence, assertiveness and decision-making skills.
Kids are prepared for and adjust to school, improving their readiness to learn through play. When children are allowed to have fun without being told what they have to do, they become more focused, improve their attention span and their academic abilities.
Play is also used as a form of therapy, helping children with emotional difficulties, developmental disorders, speech issues, disabilities etc. It is so powerful!
So, there you have it - 7 great reasons why you should encourage, embrace and allow play as much as possible!