For any child, the most exciting part of the day is playtime.
Play is something that comes so naturally in childhood that when left to their own devices, children will instinctively launch into imaginary play, no matter their situation.
This isn’t just a fun way for them to pass the time for them either; playtime has been found to have numerous social, emotional and academic benefits.
Unstructured, free play is particularly important, where the child is free to explore and use their imagination. However, over the past decades, the time that children have to free play is steadily decreasing.
With increased standardised testing, structured routines and classes, teachers and parents often cut down on playtime for their children as they may believe that these more ‘productive’ activities are better for them.
While these things have their place, play is a necessity for kids and their development…
How Does Play Assist with Learning?
Whether your children are partaking in social, independent or guided play, the benefits that it can have for their intellectual and academic development is apparent.
Executive function skills such as organising, focussing and managing emotions, content knowledge and creative thinking skills are all developed when a child plays.
Their counting, classifying and pattern identification skills are engaged when they draw or play with blocks and when they make up or act out a story, they are practising vocabulary, writing and order skills.
In construction play, research shows that problem solving and mathematical skills are built, in particular.
The Other Benefits
It’s not just academic and intellectual development that playtime helps…
Play often involves getting active by playing sort, tag or dancing; aiding physical development.
Often, they will engage with their peers or adults while they play, helping them to develop social and emotional skills. They will learn how to follow norms, self-regulate their behaviour, listen to others and set and follow rules.
Image source: parentingforbrain.com
These are all necessary skills that your child will need throughout their lives… and it starts in the playground.