As parents, we’ve all been there. The school holidays have arrived and you’re excited to have a break from helping with homework, and finally getting to spend some quality time with your children, but the first day away from school hits and your kids are lying on the couch, mindlessly watching TV, and complaining. “I’m bored!” becomes the only thing you hear all day – what is a parent to do?
All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy
It’s no secret that children are under a lot of stress in school. Overtired from piles of homework and under-stimulated from weekends spent staring at tablets instead of running around outside, the importance of play as a method to combat stress, relieve frustration, ward off boredom, and develop many vital skills becomes all the more evident. Every parent only wants the best for their children, and in order to give them fulfilling, happy lives, it is important to encourage play in children as a means of development.
The benefits of play
Cultivating a healthy mind for your child involves brain-building. Through play, essential development and growth takes place that may not seem to be building skills on the outside, but on the inside, your child is unconsciously learning about problem solving, dealing with challenges, expanding their imagination, sharpening social skills, developing physically and exercising their bodies, and learning how to express appropriate emotion. Their brains are sponges, ready to absorb endless amounts of information and skill. The skills learned while they are still young lay the foundations that spur on their growth into adulthood.
Problem solving skills and knowing how to take on challenges goes further than knowing how to tie shoelaces. Children are able to identify issues and use their imagination and creativity to come up with ways to solve problems. An obstacle course completed by a child becomes a successful driver as an adult. Stick figures drawn in sand in early childhood pre-empts a famous painter in later life.
Social skills, and reading and expressing emotions are vital to empathy as children grow. Through playing pretend, children employ creativity and are able to imagine fantastic worlds in which they can be anything, and friends involved become characters in their games. Role-playing teaches children about roles in real life and the appropriate action and reaction in different situations. Knowing how to respond to any given circumstance promotes a deep understanding of feelings and relationships, an essential part of the social and mental development of any person regardless of age.
Playing also encourages physical activity and growth. Agility, complex brain activity in relation to certain activity done through play, speech, reflexes, strength, and fine motor skills are just some of the basic functions a child should learn and continuously develop throughout their young lives. Stretching their arms and reaching for monkey bars is a movement that no video game can substitute for. Staring at a video on a phone to keep busy is no match for legs running across grass, catching a ball, and filling little lungs with fresh air and hearts pumping with excitement and exhilaration.
The bottom line
But perhaps the greatest benefit of play is one that everyone knows: it’s fun! It is what makes children the happiest and affects everyone around them through giggles and squeals, because happiness in children is like a yawn: it’s contagious. Let us facilitate happy times with your children at Playalot, where you can rediscover what it means to play, and enjoy fun reinvented, together.