The Importance of Play (And Rest Time) – Part 1
By Chan Hoi Ki on 12/05/2022
Play is defined as an activity done for the fun and enjoyment of it with no expected end outcome. It invites the participants to be present and open and can be done solo or with others. When sharing a play together, it strengthens connections especially as a parent and child, to develop a tighter bond as a family.
Play is a big and vital aspect of a child’s development journey in life. Playing helps develop kids physically, cognitively, socially and emotionally. How does it work? Play provides the opportunity to the child to emulate and practise skills with the freedom of creativity and experimentation. In turn, they learn how to effectively interact and communicate with others.
Physical: promotes motor development by understanding spatial awareness, balance, dexterity, stamina and motor planning skills
Cognitive: using senses to explore, understand cause and effect, memory reinforcement, creative open-ended play to encourage children to conceptualise, brainstorm and execute critical thinking skills
Social: understand social expectations and rules, sharing thoughts and ideas with learning to listen and compromise
Emotional: understand and process emotions to build confidence, self-esteem and their own identity
There are various types of play suited for children at different age groups. Here are some examples:
Baby: make faces to have them smile and laugh, interacting with contrasting colours and textures, playing with rattles and crinkly paper, holding conversations to develop linguistic skills
Toddlers: interacting with brightly-coloured objects, play-pretend with dolls and common household objects, puzzles, colouring and drawing
Pre-school: as they become more self-driven and independent at making decisions, let them play solo activities like puzzles & block building while social interaction remains crucial at the playground and parks to play with others in games like tag
School-aged kids: as kids are mostly occupied with school activities, you can still introduce family weekend bonding activities at the beach, playing with a ball, and even video games but in moderation and with supervision
On the other hand, a lack of play in children’s lives can have a negative and long-lasting impact.
Studies have shown that kids without the opportunity to play are at a higher risk of attention problems and behaviour problems. Without the avenue of play, kids are unable to explore with their imagination and have stunted social and emotional development.
The main takeaway is that play is vital to children’s development and growth. Besides play, rest time is also equally important for their growth. I’ll be back in next week’s blog post on rest time and its importance in the balance of rest and play.
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