The importance of play |

The importance of play
The importance of play
What looks like a simple game to an adult can often be a rich learning experience for a child. In the early development years of your child’s life, she or he will learn an enormous amount through play.
Learning through play
Simple games such as “hide and seek”, “Catchers” or even just using play equipment such as jungle gyms and balls, will not only get your child exercising, but will help with spatial awareness and gross motor skills.
Indoor games such as pretend tea parties or creating “forts” from blankets and furniture teach your child some ingenuity, can help with spatial awareness, social skills and will get your child’s creative juices flowing.
Encourage your child to invent games. Be aware that he or she may want to incorporate household items or spaces in the home that may not be safe. Discuss potential dangers with your child and make sure that he or she knows what his/her boundaries are.
Encouraging play
Children can be remarkably innovative when it comes to playing and can often entertain themselves for hours at a time. This kind of free play is good for your child, and you should encourage independent playtime. Being able to entertain him/herself is an important life skill and will help your child to learn how to alleviate his/her own boredom and to enjoy his/her own company.
Of course, playing with other children is also important. Early interactions with other children will help your child with social skills that will be essential for school and later on in life. If your child attends preschool, these interactions are likely to happen on the playground. Ask your child questions such as “Who did you play with today? What game did you play?” If your child is not playing with other children, or if these interactions seem stressful to him/her, speak to the teacher.
Emphasis is often placed on sharing and being friendly and accommodating. While this is very important, it is also essential that your child does not ever feel “bullied” and that they learn to be assertive. Of course, this also works the other way. If you suspect that your child is being too aggressive towards other children, speak to him/her about his/her feelings, and how he/she may be hurting other children’s feelings by being overly bossy and/or aggressive.
It is also important that you, as a parent, set aside some time in your busy day to play with your child. These structured play sessions will help you and your child to bond.