With Covid19 and Winter nearly upon us, it is sometimes easier to leave children on their devices and watching television indoors. But playtime be it indoors or outdoors amidst nature or with open-ended toys, with other children or by themselves, play helps children’s physical, social, cognitive and emotional development. It helps develop well-rounded children.
Let’s look at all of the benefits:
Being active, by playing ball, skateboarding or any activity that involves co-ordination, balance helps develop motor skills. In turn, it promotes fitness as they expel energy as their heart rate increases. It also helps with their eating and desire to eat, plus better sleeping habits.
By playing with others, children learn to negotiate how to work in a group setting. They learn how to get along and work with their peers. They understand what is acceptable behaviour and what isn’t, by learning how to recognise others feelings, resolving and dramas, being affectionate and rulemaking and adherence. These are all skills used in everyday life for the rest of their lives.
Also part of Social, children will learn how to communicate, how to use different words, words that are acceptable to each other. They will also learn body language as communication is not just about the spoken word.
As with Social too, during playing, children can learn how to deal with their feelings, like frustration, anger, being scared all in an environment which they can control. They can also learn how to deal with these emotions in their peers and what are the correct responses.
Up to the age of three children’s brains are developing and taking on board a lot of information. Playing can help with brain development and cognitive ability. When thinking about games to help your child’s brain, think about puzzles, jigsaws – games that they can see through to the end, which helps with planning and decision making. In the outdoors, try exploring objects and physical spaces – where they can explore visual delights and sounds they have never heard before.
Being full of imagination is one of the great things about childhood, making things with your hands, writing stories, playing dress-ups, drawing pictures etc. All of this gives children the opportunity to think outside the square, come up with different ideas and create solutions. Having an active imagination will serve you well throughout your life, and that is where the future innovators come from.
We are all spending more time with our children and this is a time for us to help them with their growth and development more than ever. Our lives have all slowed down, giving us more time to grow and bond and be able to create good family memories of this lockdown for your children.