Importance of Play

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There is no doubt that all children love to engage in play – a seemingly pointless activity that, in actuality, helps our young develop psychomotor skills, hone their hand-eye coordination and tap into their creative minds.

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Learn about the importance of play

There is no doubt that all children love to engage in play – a seemingly pointless activity that, in actuality, helps our young develop psychomotor skills, hone their hand-eye coordination and tap into their creative minds.

Despite its important role in a child’s development journey, many adults overlook the necessity of playtime as the child grows older and would rather they spend the time on education. Various forms of play, however, boasts of the following benefits:

Active play – such as sports or some time at the playground – is a good form of exercise for the kids and serves as a good distraction from their busy lives as students. Not only does it strengthen the body, it also sharpens the mind as physical activity brings more oxygen to the brain and results in heightened responsiveness. In the long run, your child will have a healthier body too!

Stimulating play in cases of the modern favorites such as computer games can help your child develop analytical skills, and quicken thinking responses. Almost all games require your child to think quick on his feet and respond appropriately to the situation presented. As long as such play is monitored closely and rationed throughout his day, there can be little harm done.

Creative play occurs when your child prefers to spend his or her spare time on artistic pursuits such as drawing, painting, or even making Play-doh sculptures. Pablo Picasso once said, “All children are artists. The problem is how to remain an artist once he grows up.” If we let our children to express themselves through art, it will also allow us to explore their imagination as we view each piece of their artwork.

Although there are so many ways to engage in play, there are often limited activities that an infant can play, unless you participate.

Peek-a-boo, a long-time favourite between parents and young children, enforces the idea that you have not “disappeared” but is merely out of sight. It helps your baby cope better with separation anxiety as he or she grows older, as you will be able to comfort him with a reassuring voice from the next room, instead of having to put down what you are doing, just to pick him up.

Other than the benefits of learning through play, acting as your child’s play partner will also strengthen the bond between parent and child – a sure bonus that will keep the relationship close even though you might spend most part of each day working away from your baby.

Restrictions

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Once your baby is old enough to experiment with the myriad of toys available, the newfound fascination may help to take him off your hands for short periods of time but remember that it is still very important not to neglect your child, or restrict the way he might prefer to play with his toys.

When my son turned six-months-old, we presented him with a shape-sorting toy hoping that he would recognise shapes and do us proud by sorting them into the similar shaped holes in the sorter box.

I cannot begin to describe the sense of disappointment I had felt when he deny the common logic of the toy’s purpose, but as the weeks went by, I finally understood that he had his own way of playing and started to take it in my stride.

He would bang the shapes together, stack them up, throw them around, play fetch with our cats using them, turn the sorter box upside down to cover the shapes as if playing peek-a-boo with them – in essence, everything but sorting out the shapes. And in actuality, there was nothing wrong with that.

He was, and is, simply a baby who doesn’t like to follow strict rules when it came to play.

He enjoyed “making music” by banging the shapes together, as how he would drum his tiny hands on any surface just to see what sounds he would create. He was practicing balance when he was stacking up the shapes. He managed to figure out that the box would work well as a hiding place for the shapes. And most importantly, he expressed his generosity by allowing our cats to share his toys with him. Instead of showing me that he could sort shapes, my son had showed me much more of what he was capable of.

It was also this experience that had enlightened me on how adults should not restrict the way children prefer to play. Playtime is not only about fun, it also helps our children learn and grow in various ways that no other activities can provide.

There are benefits to a child regardless of how he plays, and if your child can break out of the mould and find new ways of playing with his toys, we should feel proud of his creativity instead of insisting they use a toy in the way it was “meant to be”. Your child could be a genius in the making for discovering alternative methods for simple toys!

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