Do you really know what fantastic skills kids learn through play? When kids are allowed regular play in a wholesome environment, they thrive both mentally and emotionally!
Play as discussed in this list is considered unstructured and mainly child-led, with the exception of infants and toddlers. When toys are used they should be simple, mainly non-electronic toys such as blocks, dolls, Legos, play-doh, dress-up clothes, and other such things that require the use of the imagination.
Infants require interactive play with adults, as do younger toddlers. As children grow and develop they should have regular independent playtimes where they are free to play as they choose, but this certainly doesn’t mean unsupervised.
Children should also have regular physical play time from the time they learn to walk.
1. Physical play keeps them healthy and increases brain development – kids who have regular physical playtime develop better balance coordination, they learn consequences and they learn to do better next time when allowed to freely run around and play. Physical play also helps kids build resilience, confidence, and builds problem solving skills. Read more about learning with Whole Body Movement and Play.
2. Play helps kids learn early skills. – colors, shapes, sensory skills,
3. Play helps with brain development – as seen with imagination and creativity.
4. Play helps kids learn problem solving skills.
5. Play helps with language and communication skills.
6. Play helps with self-discovery so that they learn what skills and talents they possess.
7. Play builds confidence through continually learning new skills.
8. Play helps kids be independent and helps them with their individuality.
9. Play reduces stress and allows kids to be carefree and develop naturally without anxiety.
10. Play helps kids learn to deal with others and gain emotional intelligence.
It’s amazing how many things kids learn through play – and this is just a partial list, there are so many detailed studies that have been done to show that kids really need regular playtime. In order for children to grow into well-balanced adults, they need the opportunity to grow and explore through both physical and imaginative unstructured play.
And as Fred Rogers is quoted as saying: “Play is often talked about as if it were a relief from serious learning. But for children play is serious learning. Play is really the work of childhood.”