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Ever heard of the expression “All work and no play ...” Nursery School Teacher’s place so much importance on an activity that can seem like such a “waste of time” but actually ends up making our children happy, excited and a little messy.

The self-directed play has tremendous advantages for children’s social, emotional, cognitive, and physical growth.

Here are some scientific benefits for letting our children get messy rather than doing something clean and passive, like clicking those keypads and video controllers or completing only paper and pencil tasks:

1. Play and rough-housing boost boys’ problem-solving abilities: Play boosts self-confidence and self-regulation – children, therefore, learn to become masters of their own destiny without an adult directing, pushing, managing or scheduling.

2. Play forges friendships, strengthens social competence and teaches social skills: Undirected play allows children to learn how to work in groups, share, negotiate, communicate, and develop core social skills they need not only now but for the rest of their lives.

3. Play expands our children’s minds, attention and neurological development: Self-initiated play improves skills such as guessing, problem-solving, interpreting situations and aids children in learning executive functioning (a term used to describe the complex skills of planning, organization, sequencing, and decision making). These skills are essential to brain development and learning.

4. Play helps children learn to enjoy just being in their own company, entertain themselves and develop their own identity. So, ease the guilt, mom, when your child says, “I am bored!”

5. Play teaches affiliation: During play, children learn to connect with peers and family members while at the same time learning cooperation skills and how to compromise—working with others while playing also helps children to cultivate empathy and learn to be flexible, self-aware, and self-regulating.

6. Play builds new competencies, leadership skills, teaches lifelong hobbies, and develops resilience: Play allows the child to manipulate their environment, i.e., take control, begin to develop their senses and learn how to view the world.

7. Play boosts physical health and reduces the risk of obesity: Keeps children busy and engaged with other children or activities.

8. Free play is good for giving the children’s minds a break from strenuous activities: Young children have a shorter concentration span and need to participate in more gross motor learning and activities than older school-going children.

9. Play reduces children’s anxiety and diminishes stress, which is very important for a child’s emotional health: Play makes children happy (improves their mood or affect it) could be one of the most important reasons adults should encourage frequent outdoor activities to play. Regular physical activity (and for children, that means play) reduces anxiety, depression, aggression, and sleep problems and improves overall emotional well-being.

10. PLAY CREATES JOYFUL MEMORIES OF CHILDHOOD: Are the end results of a bit of sand in the hair, smudged clothes, dusty hands, and ruffled hair worth the advantages of the above benefits of play?

Yes, without a doubt, play is essential and not just a luxury or an inconvenience!

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