Play is an essential part of every child’s life and is vital for the enjoyment of childhood as well as social, emotional, intellectual and physical development. When children are asked about what they think is important in their lives,playing and friends is usually at the top of the list.
Play helps children develop confidence, as well as concentration and inventiveness:
• Helps build relationships – when your child is engaged with you they learn to read non-verbal cues. things like sharing enjoyment, making eye contact and understanding body language and gesture
• Promotes feelings of self-worth and competence – Play promotes independence. Its ok for things to go wrong when your little ones are playing. Try not to intervene and let them problem solve for themselves
• Helps children to think independently – Play should be child led. Its the perfect time to develop their imagination, their problem solving and independent thinking
• Expands attention span – children love nothing more than playing with an engaging adult. with practice children will attend for longer periods and improve attention skills
• Encourages language development and communication – Play is the perfect opportunity to develop new vocabulary and support understanding of new concepts. Think about playing with dolly – you can reinforce vocabualry for body parts, clothing, food and drink, as well as teaching concept words around familiar routines like bathtime (wet/dry) and shopping.
• Helps children with imagination – Play is limitless and fun! it teaches us to be adaptable from a very early age, for example when we use a banana as a telephone we use our imagination to make it real. AS children get older imaginatin helps develop story telling skills and thinking creatively about how to solve problems.
• Helps with developing patience – Playing with others means developing social skills, like taking turns, sharing and winning and losing games. this helps children deal with the emotions surrounding these experiences which will support their social interaction when they get to school.