Kids & Company Blog

The Benefits of Play!

In my family, we've always had lots of play. With eight children, they all at some point another played with each other and kept busy with great pretend games, sports play and sensory activities (even if that means making a mud pit in the backyard!). It is so important for children to explore through play and we promote this in our centres as well. Although many days are structured at child care, we ensure that there’s time and opportunity for the children to have self-guided play time. The rooms have creative materials available at the child’s level (when age appropriate) and they are able to explore any area of the room they wish. Many times, I will walk into a classroom and see one child at the water table, three playing dress up, a few building towers and so much more. Although it may look like there’s a lot going on to someone who has just walked in, these children are learning in a very beneficial way and exploring things on their own and with each other.

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Our friends at Whole Play have some great reasons as to why play is so important. Check them out below!

 

Benefits of Play

 Research across a variety of different fields, including developmental psychology, education, anthropology, sociology and neurology has found play to be a primary source of healthy development in early childhood and later years.

Providing children with the opportunity to play in a variety of different ways, both alone and in the company of others, in both structured and unstructured settings, stimulates healthy growth in all areas of children’s development including, physical, social, emotional, and cognitive development. Here are just a few of the benefits of play:

 

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  • Physical play such as outdoor play and “rough and tumble” play helps children develop gross motor skills, coordination and balance.

 

  • Physical play activities also allow children to engage in appropriate “risk-taking” behavior, which has been found to improve children’s judgment, confidence and independence, as it challenges them to test the limits of the their physical strength and abilities.

 

  • Sensory play that allows children to explore a variety of different textures, sounds, smells, and tastes, helps them to learn about the physical properties of their environment.

 

  • Pretend play or dramatic play, in which children act out imaginary scenarios, gives kids a chance to practice important social skills, such as engaging in conversations and resolving conflicts.

 

  • Pretend play has also been shown to result in increased emotional well-being, as it forces kids to “regulate their emotions” or to control their immediate feelings, impulses and desires in order to participate in group activities with other children or adults.

 

  • In addition, pretend play has been shown to increase children’s cognitive development as acting out imaginary scenarios allows them to tell complex stories, which expands their vocabulary and enhances their language skills.

 

  • Construction play or object play, in which children manipulate and build with physical objects in their environment, has also been shown to increase children’s cognitive development, as it allows them to work on their counting, sorting, numeracy and problem-solving skills.

 

 

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