Effect of play
Play is a vital aspect in laying the foundation of a child’s early development. Play helps children’s brains to develop and mature their language and communication skills.
By simply singing a song ‘baby shark’, or games like peek-a-boo, or ‘simon says’ are much more important than just a way to pass the time, they help children communicate better, develop their motor skills and help with problem -solving
Something as easy as building blocks , puzzling and the likes helps children discover mathematics and science concepts, including shapes, gravity, balance and counting.
Types of play
- Toys and object play
- Physical play
- Outdoor play
- Pretend play
- Role play
5 Benefit of play in early childhood development
The importance of play in early childhood development is more than you can imagine, below are some benefit of different kinds of play and how they help children in their journey to growth
Toys and object play
when children play with toys children develop their sensory motor skills by exploring its properties through touch, and conducting an experiment like a small scientist would , for example they might bang its on the floor to know how strong or hard it is, toys inspire learning, encourage movement builds confidence and foster creativity.
This kind of play helps build children’s confidence and improve social skills, it gives children the opportunity to learn new skills, teaches them the importance of life skills, improves overall health and fitness. physical play also helps children maintain a healthy weight to prevent childhood obesity.
The gentle thrill of a playground slide help a child build confidence as they take risks in a relative safe environment.
Games such as duck -duck goose also help children to build other social emotional skills such as empathy as children learn to be careful.
Playing outside give children the chance to explore the natural environment and have adventure, while playing outside , children have benefited from being exposed to the sunlight, natural element and open air which contribute to bone development, stronger immune system and physical activity. It lets children use all their senses to build skills like spatial awareness and balance. Its can also improve a child attention span .
When children engage in pretend play they are actively experimenting with the social roles of life
Dr Cathrine Neilsen-Hewett, a lecturer and researcher in child development, explains: “Imaginative play has the greatest impact on the development of key skills that are important for children’s success with peers. When playing creatively with their friends, your child learns to co-operate and compromise.”
She adds that it encourages children to participate in social activities and to understand social relationships.
There is also great value in playing with dolls and toy action figures. This form of play encourages children to learn how to interact socially and develop social cues by experimenting with eye contact, using different tones and emotions.
Children also learn to have conversations, which they enact by talking to their dolls and action figures and imagining responses. Playing with action figures also helps build self-esteem, as any child can be a hero – just by pretending.
Have you ever seen a child pick up a toy or an object and pretend to be making a call ? Has it ever crossed your mind to wonder what goes through their little minds?
“Fantasy is hardly an escape from reality. It’s a way of understanding.” – Lloyd Alexander
The benefits of role playing among children are fundamental in enhancing skills required for healthy development. It is no wonder child therapists use role play therapy to help children going through difficult situations and even to treat conditions such as autism.
Along with being fun, using imagination in their play improves their creativity and promotes better performance in school and it also helps them develop a strong problem-solving approach in dealing with issues. This is because it allows them to take up characters that act out real life roles.