“Children need to play – it is part of their world that helps to develop their imagination, communication and understanding.” (nursery ed, Dec 2005)
We all know instintively that playtime is important. However, playtime can sometimes be eaiser thought than done with the busy schedules of both parents and kids in our current times. Parents work longer hours, commutes home are getting longer with road congestion, kids extra ciricular academics & activities occupy the after school hours. Before we know it, it is time to sleep and the time for simple unstructured play has passed. Why does this happen? Do we believe that play is frivilous? Is play a reward? Is play a thing to do on a lazy day when no work, activities or task lists take priority? It may be a different reason amongst us, but the realization we need to make is that playtime is indeed important! Children learn through their play. Children develop skills through their play. Children learn to cope through play. Children become better people through play!
“When it comes to brain development, time in the classroom may be less important than time on the playground.”
“Skills associated with play ultimately lead to better grades. In one study, researchers found that the best predictor of academic performance in eighth grade was a child’s social skills in third grade.”
“Play is not frivolous: it enhances brain structure and function and promotes executive function (ie, the process of learning, rather than the content), which allow us to pursue goals and ignore distractions.”
“Research shows play can improve children’s abilities to plan, organize, get along with others, and regulate emotions. In addition, play helps with language, math and social skills, and even helps children cope with stress.”
This article has some great Age-Specific Ideas for Playful Learning!
“1. Play Builds Imagination and Creativity
During play, children often mimic adults and create make-believe games. When a child does this, they’re stretching their imagination. They create complex narratives around these roles and learn to think in abstract ways. This abstract thinking is the foundation for more advanced learning and problem solving.
2. Play Fosters Cognitive Growth
A variety of experts agree that play is essential for brain development. Free play positively affects neurological development by influencing how the neural circuits of the brain are wired. Free play has a beneficial impact on confidence, intelligence and communication.
3. Play Reaps Emotional and Behavioural Benefits
Regular play can reduce anxiety, stress and irritability for children while boosting joy and self-esteem. It improves emotional flexibility, resilience and provides an increased ability to deal with change. Through play, children can confront life’s challenges in a way that they can understand and process.
4. Play Facilitates Group Interaction
Group play is where kids are introduced to social roles and cultural norms. They develop the skills necessary to play cooperatively within group structures. It also gives them an opportunity to learn about self-control, test relationships and understand acceptable group behaviour. The skills learned in group play can help form the basis of a child’s social skills.
5. Play Encourages Greater Independence
Solitary play can be just as valuable as group play. It helps kids to prepare for social situations by providing a stronger sense of independence and promoting creativity. Children who choose to play alone at a playground can also learn social cues by observing other group interactions from afar.
6. Play Promotes Physical Fitness
Kids love to be active. Exercise helps to promote physically fit and healthy children. Play encourages this activity, giving kids the opportunity to sharpen reflexes, work on movement control, improve gross motor skills and develop greater balance. They also build strong muscles, improve bone-density and increase cardio-vascular function. Encouraging active play can have positive far-reaching health effects.”
Birdie’s Room has many wonderful products that will open up the doors of imagination, play and learning for your loved ones! Soft plush toys made from organic cotton, wooden rattles with natural finishes, wooden blocks & toys made locally from sutainable forests, high-quality hand-craft supplies for little hands, play silks with endless possiblities within the imagination. We have lots for young, creative, curious minds.