All children need play in their lives. Active play where they could run around, jump and decide what to do. It may seem meaningless but this is part of developing their independence. It builds healthy bodies as well as healthy minds. In play they gain confidence, develop communication, they become resourceful, their imagination gets fueled. When they play with others and get engaged, for us adults it is a welcome break to have some time to ourselves. For the children, it is enjoyment, interaction and becomes part of their cherished memories.
Children’s Play – in a perfect world all children already know how to play by themselves. Not ideal because interaction is how one learns more than what one already knows, thereby building our brain. Free play teaches them to collaborate, express themselves, resolve problems, teaches them patience when they need to take turns. Like playing pirate, who gets to be captain next. These social queues, how we interact becomes the foundation for relationships. Active children’s play gives them a chance to let off steam, reduce stress, practice their planning skills and adapt to situations. There are many other stages of children’s play and each of them contribute to a child’s wellness and development. Without play, a child could be lacking in social skills, obesity due to inactivity and the newest parental terror, addiction to gaming and gadgets.
Games – easy games of tag, follow the leader and other classroom games teach children the concept of rules, certain life skills and how children should be conducting themselves. Foot golf has certain skills and procedure that needs to be followed. Some negotiation skills come into play when rules become vague or when another player joins in to allow for more participants. These rule changes makes the children explore the “what ifs” and learn resilience. By contrast unicorn parties fuel the fire of children’s imaginations – they inhabit a dream-world for a few hours where their thoughts flow in ecstatic imaginings. There’s plenty of opportunity for learning in games where children are given a chance to explore within a safe environment such as incursions into schools provide.
And just a skip and a hop, all these become memories. They are playing in a much more complicated game called life. These memories that once they played that tickled their imagination, got their blood going and their hearts racing.They might forget the actual reason but they will remember that they laughed and had fun, that they made friends and were happy.