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PLAYING, is it part of learning or just for the child’s enjoyment?

It has always amazed me that when a child is asked what they did today, they usually answer, “nothing, we just played.”

This statement usually stresses parents out, but as adults, we can be shortsighted when trying to comprehend the benefit of play for a child’s development.

Modern technology is a huge part of today’s world, but when viewing what is involved in the play, particularly outdoor play is.

We as parents need to change our basic assumptions and plan more opportunities for our children to grow more holistically.

The benefits of play:

• It helps children develop core cognitive, social, and creative skills as they encounter opportunities to use their imagination and explore a variety of situations.

• It satisfies a child’s basic need for social interaction and provides a safe area where they can develop patience, learn to share, and manage conflict, anger, and aggression.

• It helps the child not only become independent and improve their self-esteem but develop problem-solving and reasoning skills vital to their progress in school.

• When playing outside and using the equipment, a child learns to acquire coordination and strength, develop an understanding of their body in space, and gain confidence in their abilities.

• Playing outside and interacting with nature strengthens a child’s five senses as they can see, hear, feel, touch, and smell their environment. This expands their general knowledge, and this impacts their general understanding of schoolwork.

• Running, climbing, swinging, skipping, hopping, etc., helps the child’s brain make sense of spatial awareness, direction, height, and speed.

All the above skills, when practiced and encouraged, will be of benefit in the classroom.

Incidental learning becomes long-term learning, so “I just played today” has set all the necessary skills in place for reading, writing, and mathematics in primary school.

There is, therefore, a direct correlation between play and academic success!

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