Why Play Is Important for Kids
Children of all different ages go through stages of play that is specific to their current age. The benefits of play are proven to be an educated process for the child’s adaption into society as they grow older. There are 5 specific stages of play that children go through.
From birth to 18 months, children’s play involves primary use of the senses. Infants learn about the world by sight, smell, sound, taste, and touch. This simple learning gives information to infants that is important for their future playing and learning.
From 18 months until 4 years, children are very active, and they become curious about symbols, numbers, and letters. Through socializing with other children, toddlers learn manners, cooperation, importance of friendships, sharing, and waiting their turn.
Children who are 4 and 5 years old like to be a part of more organized social play. They play much more creatively. They pretend, imagine, create, and imitate much of their surroundings which develops intellectual and physical skills.
4. Young School-Age Children
Children who are 5 and 6 years old typically enter elementary school where their play is more directed towards specific goals of learning. Playing consists more of puzzles and word games, and they want to do more things on their own even though most of the time they find it difficult to complete tasks.
5. Older School-Age Children
When children who are 9 to 12 years old and are in the last years of elementary school, they can do many things on their own without help. They do not grow bored as quickly and are able to efficiently complete activities and tasks. Their playing also involves more team games and sports.
Now that you are more aware of the stages of play that children go through, you will be able to appreciate more in detail the specific benefits that playing can have on children of your own.
Some of the most important benefits are the following:
-Play builds the imagination.
Children use many different objects as symbols for play. For example, they imagine a toy phone as a real phone. They also imagine themselves playing certain roles such as being a daddy or a superhero. Imagining these certain roles allows the child to explore certain scenarios and outcomes.
-Play promotes social skills.
When children play together, they are learning specific social skills. They learn to negotiate, cooperate, and share. By interacting with other children, your child is learning how to get along with others effectively.
-Play advances physical development.
Physical play develops different skills in children. For example, playing sports involves coordination, skipping involves balance, and climbing on monkey bars builds strength. Large motor skills such as jump-roping improve first.
-Play helps kids work through emotions.
Before children can express themselves through words, they will express them through play. If a child has a an experience that disappointed them or hurt them, they acknowledge and review these feelings by playing the scenarios that hurt them. This acknowledgement allows them to slowly understand what they experienced.
-Your role when playing with your child
When playing with your child, let him or her make the decisions. Allowing your child to determine what to do and how to do it lets he or she try out his own judgment. It’s important to note the attention you show your child when you play together. For it is the key to building his or hers self-esteem.