Child’s Play is Anything But

February 12th, 2013 posted by Family Corner Staff

cheerleader girl Child developmental experts have studied children at play for over a century. Their research shows that play is a child’s most important work, a way of learning, growing, and understanding the world. A parent’s involvement can make play a richer, stimulating, and more valuable activity for children.

Here’s how parents can make play more meaningful

Social skills

Play prepares children for adult life. It teaches the concepts of compromise and problem solving. But many children today are too over-scheduled for unstructured social time with playmates.

  • Try to make sure that your child has at least one hour of playtime everyday.
  • Show an interest: Research reveals that children play for longer periods when a parent is involved.
  • Respect the game: Don’t try to change the rules or the goals. This lets your child know that play is important.

Expressing emotions

  • Play is a safe outlet for feelings that can’t be expressed in real life. Many children use play to show feelings such as happiness or frustration.
  • Don’t try to re-direct what might seem like dramatic or negative play. Let your child work through strong emotions.

// Building Imagination Children develop imagination and creativity through play. They try on adult roles and learn how to cope with the world.

  • Help stretch your child’s imagination by asking open-ended questions like “What will we be eating at our tea party?”
  • Keep a “pretend box” handy with a collection of props such as pots, dishes, jewelry, and tools.
  • Provide plenty of raw material for imaginative play. Crayons, clay, paints, and other art supplies help children express creative ideas.

Physical Development

Through active play, children develop their large and fine motor skills and hand-eye coordination. To a three-year old, painting a picture is a joyous, messy, colorful adventure. To an expert, it’s a combination of fine motor development, hand-eye coordination and imaginative skills.

  • Work a puzzle, play a board game, paint a picture-interactive games are essential to child development.
  • Build a house with blocks with your child. Children learn by watching parents play too.
  • Let them burn some of their endless energy (and build coordination and confidence) on an outdoor climber or activity gym.

Play is the business of childhood. Children need play to develop the vital skills they need to see them through life. Being in charge of a pretend universe gives children a sense of control in a world in which so much is out of their control. The stories, the characters, the worlds they create and inhabit, encourage creativity and imagination.

Family Corner Staff (674 Posts)

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Cindy Rowe
Cindy Rowe (7 Posts)

Cindy Rowe is the owner/editor of Crazylou Creations blog. On the blog, you will find a little bit of crazy, and a whole lot of fun! As a FT working mother, she still finds time to create crafts, play around in the kitchen, plan parties and exercise. You'll find all of this and more on her blog!

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