Benefits of play for children development and its impportance in early chilhood.
Play is essential in children development. Play is the one of the most important ways children learn and develop. Play and the child are inseparable. Childhood (and even more) is the period when we play. It may seem obvious but this activity is essential for the child’s development and is a true indicator of his health and well-being… The child who plays is a healthy child!
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The benefits of play for children
Playing is above all a source of pleasure… As its name suggests, play, which is essential for the child’s development, must be a source of pleasure… The more the child takes pleasure, the more he plays and the more he plays, the more he grows!
Play contributes to children’s social and emotional development. Indeed, play is conducive to exchange and interaction. The child must exchange and position himself in relation to his peers.He must find his place among others. Little by little, he must turn away from himself and turn towards others. And this is an essential step in the child’s development.
Playing together also stimulates the child’s interests. He opens himself up to other ways of thinking, to other activities proposed by his peers. He gradually understands that each child has his own individuality, that not everyone thinks the same thing all the time and that everyone can express his opinions even if they are different from his own.Each individual exists and represents him/herself within a group, be it the family circle, school, friends, sports… It is important to feel part of a group and to be able to identify and at the same time differentiate oneself from others… The child will also learn to manage his emotions…
Play allows the child to develop intellectually. Indeed, children experiment during play and may find themselves faced with situations in which they will have to use logic and reflection to solve them. The advantage is that there will be no pressure, no anxiety about solving the problem encountered since here the child explores in the form of play. The child feels free to experiment, to try several solutions because he knows that what he does here will have no concrete impact on the outcome, unlike at school where the child often wishes to please the teacher or his parents by having “a good evaluation” …
Cognitive games often appeal to the child’s imagination. This allows him to reflect and understand the world… Thanks to the game the child learns how to build his thoughts. He understands the different steps that allow him to reach a goal, he understands that each gesture gives a result…
As children grow older, they develop more and more faculties and learn more and more in a variety of ways. The child truly learns through play and retains much better … Play can thus help children in major school learning such as reading, writing and mathematics. Discover our free educational games to be printed which will allow your child to learn multiplication tables with fortune tellers, to discover sounds through a maze or numbers with the help of color by number pages… If the child discovers with pleasure, then everything will be recorded more quickly and for the long term.
Play allows the child to become more autonomous. Free play is very important here because it allows the child to learn how to busy himself. Of course, play allows the development of social skills with others, sharing moments of complicity with family and friends, but play is also important when the child is alone. Play then becomes his moment just for himself, his moment of freedom, his moment of pleasure, where no constraint will be imposed by the adult. The child will then feel free to experience what he likes. Don’t misread! Not to impose constraints, it is let the child free and not to give him an objective to reach. It does not mean that one should not respect the rules imposed within the school or family.
Motor and sensory development
Games allow the motor development of children. Indeed, large outdoor or sometimes even indoor games allow children to let off steam, jump, climb, run and encourage movement of all kinds. They contribute to the good motor development of the children, we speak here of general motor skills. These games also allow the child to better locate himself in space, help him to better perceive the world around him and understand laterality.
Other games will allow the child to develop fine motor skills. Indeed, all games related to writing and drawing, bead threading and many other games allow the child to work on particular motor areas, such as thumb-index grasping…
Manipulative games allow the child to discover new textures, colors, shapes, sounds or tastes which contribute to the child’s sensory development.
Play is key to helping children develop language. He will communicate with the adult but also with other children from an early age. Play allows the child to express his emotions but also to learn to control and express them.
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Encouraging play for children
Children can play naturally, but there are different ways to promote play in children. To do this, the child needs time, a place and special occasions .
There are 2 main categories of play that can be differentiated between free play and directed play.
The child will constantly experiment and discover his environment… From the simplest to the most complex game, all this will allow the child to build himself.
To encourage play in children, here are a few tips to put in place:
Encouraging free play for children
Play can be more structured and impose a way of doing things or a goal on the child. This also has its advantages. But the importance of free play should not be overlooked. Free play doesn’t mean play without a framework, but it does mean a moment of freedom, where the child decides what to play with and how to play without the adult expecting a specific goal in return.
Make sure you give them the time they need to experiment, to discover without any particular goal other than to have fun in the game.
Free play allows children to develop their self-confidence, to explore and experiment without fear of the outcome and without the pressure of expectations set, sometimes even unconsciously, by the adult . This promotes autonomy: the child is less dependent on his parents because he will have to make his choices by himself. Moreover, it is an excellent way to stimulate his creativity, especially with imitation games… The child discovers and learns a lot.
Give him the opportunity to play
We live in a world that is constantly creating stress. This is due to a lack of time, with the constraints of daily life, work, homework, school… Life is sometimes played a little faster than it should be. However, it is essential in this tumultuous life to let the children settle down and freely enjoy the game… In this society in a hurry, where we often put forward the result obtained, it is essential to let the child have his own moments, to give him time to discover and build himself…
Playing with your child
The game allows you to share real highlights with the child. These are privileged moments that allow to consolidate relationships, to share convivial moments, to put the child in confidence… When you play with your child, it is a moment when you will be 100% with him… This is part of play time, like any other activity, which allows him to apprehend and build himself in a different way under the benevolent eye of his parents…
Propose a safe play space for children
The space must be thought out to facilitate children’s play and activity. The space must be thought out, arranged and adapted to the desires and age of the children. This play space must be safe and secure so that the child can invest it correctly.
A child who does not feel safe in his play space will not be able to invest it correctly and with pleasure.
Propose various games
Propose equipment, types of games and varied activities: it is the adult who proposes and provides the child with the necessary framework to play. Choose a variety of games to stimulate the child to explore and interact with his environment. Propose different types of games that will allow them to work on their imagination, their sensory or cognitive development, their motor development… The more varied the games, the more the child’s discoveries will be varied… But be careful about one thing…
Offering a varied play environment does not mean putting everything at his disposal. In fact, propose 2-3 different activities to your child. Put them away and put new games at his disposal the next day. You’ll notice that a toy that is constantly left within your child’s reach will quickly become uninteresting… Put it away for a while in the closet and take it out again a few days later and the child will rediscover it differently and turn his attention back to it.
Propose varied games yes, but over time and do not flood him with too many games which he would eventually lose interest, not knowing which way to look.
Moreover, it is up to the adults to propose games adapted to their age.
Enjoy outdoor games and exploration
Encouraging your young child to explore outdoor play is extremely beneficial and necessary for their development.
Outdoor games are essential for children to let off steam and especially to discover and experience new spaces, new materials, new smells… The outdoors is an inexhaustible source of discovery.
The child has much more space to move and therefore discover his body and learn to control it… Nature continually brings new discoveries to children… Walks, outings or outdoor activities allow children to multiply their experiences because the environment is an inexhaustible source of richness and discoveries which it would be a shame to deprive oneself of.
The different types of play for children
Free play for children
It is important to combine more directed activities with free play time. Indeed, free play allows the child to gain self-confidence. It is a time when he can try all sorts of things freely. He feels, at that moment, that he is in control of his environment. Moreover, playing freely stimulates autonomy. He is alone with his play, independent from the adult and can therefore make his own choices. Finally, free play encourages creativity. It allows the child to call upon his imagination by using objects in the way he wishes… Free play is a source of discovery and new learning for the child.
In symbolic games, the child will use his imagination to create scenarios that will allow him to experiment with different situations. Symbolic games are initially individual but can become collective around 5 years old. Playing the dinette, playing mom or dad, dressing up, putting oneself in the shoes of other characters, allow the child to relive and understand, through play, scenes sometimes experienced in reality. He experiments with new situations, modifies the story and negotiates to find a compromise. These games are essential in the construction of your child’s personality.
The construction games
They are present at all ages and become more complex as children grow older. This includes the first towers with cubes for the youngest children, up to the more complex lego or kapla constructions.
The guided activities
These are activities planned or organized by the adult that must correspond to the needs and desires of the children according to their age and competence. Here, it is the adult who provides the space and equipment and who takes charge of the activity. The activity may or may not have a specific objective.
Painting may or may not be an adult-directed activity, but the adult may or may not impose an instruction.
Board games and other rules games
The first board games will gradually be set up around 4-5 years old with simple rules, but it is really around 6-7 years old that board games will become more important. From the age of 9, these games will become more complex, the rules will be more complete and especially children will be able to implement real strategies.
The sensor-motor games
These are the child’s first games that are put in place from birth and will then evolve little by little according to his age. This will allow the baby to control his movements and gestures. He will then discover his body and better control it thanks to the repetition of these same gestures. The child will thus develop his motor skills thanks to these games. While growing, these games will become more diversified. The games of modeling clay, salt dough, decanting, colored rice are part of the great classics of sensory games very appreciated by children… The pleasure is immediate… I touch, I manipulate, I feel…
Sensory games help develop the child’s senses. Musical games, water games, physical activities are as many motor games to be set up with young children.
Play is essential for the proper development and balance of the child. It is important to be aware of it in order to give it its rightful place. Play remains above all a source of pleasure. It is this pleasure that will allow and give the child the desire to go to the end of his activity and therefore to learn to concentrate and make efforts to reach the goal he has set himself.
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