The Importance of Play
Play is an essential part of children’s learning and development which is often overlooked, but whilst children are having fun there are a range of social, physical and emotional skills that they are developing! Take a look at some of the benefits of play below.
Play encourages children to use their imagination – whether they’re pretending to be a chef or using their own toys as part of a role play scenario, children are challenging their creativity and taking control of worlds that they have created. As they grow up it will help children to think originally, particularly when solving problems.
Play is a great way for children to build relationships with parents, carers and other children in an informal setting. This will allow them to become more confident in speaking to others and will help them to establish relationships in the future.
Not only is play great fun, it’s a good way to keep children learning outside of the classroom in a way that is fun and enjoyable. Learning in an engaging way will help to create a desire to learn that they will carry with them and will be useful for the rest of their lives.
Fine Motor Skills
As children play they are invariably developing their fine motor skills through picking things up and putting them back down. Being able to coordinate movements enables children to use their hands to complete daily activities such as writing, getting dressed and doing up buttons. As they grow older this coordination will help children when they are playing sports or learning musical instruments.
Vocabulary and Language
As children engage with others they will naturally begin to pick up new words and phrases. Parents and teachers can use play to lead discussions to encourage conversation and experimentation. Play offers a safe environment for children to test out new words which will help them to grow in confidence.
As they play, children will begin to develop a number of social skills, including turn-taking, sharing, following rules and interacting with othes, to name just a few! These skills will help children throughout their adult life as they interact with different people in different scenarios.
Not only can play can take place with parents, friends and siblings, it can also be an independent activity, like when children are playing with trains and cars or completing a jigsaw puzzle. Having fun independently allows children to feel comfortable in their own company and allows their self-confidence to grow.
So don’t underestimate the value of play in any scenario with any games, jigsaw or even imaginary play, it’s a very natural and beneficial part of childhood!