For children, play is as natural as breathing, and there isn’t a moment when children aren’t either playing or thinking about playing. Besides keeping them occupied and happy, the play does something wonderful for their minds and bodies, too. Children who actively play have better developed cognitive, physical, emotional, as well as social well-being. Parents can take the opportunity and engage in play with their children and further aid their development.
Helps them become more social
While some children will be perfectly happy playing on their own, games are a great way for kids to make new friends and meet others. Playgrounds are filled with kids playing games everyone knows, but there are also those who are focused on a bit different game, and when others want to join in, they quickly become friends. What is more, parents can also join children’s games – not only is it fun and gets the parents’ minds off more stressful things, but it also gives them a chance to spend some much-needed quality time with children.
Sadly, these days, a lot of parents have less time to play with their children because they are more focused on work or because they just don’t have the space to do so. Even if parents aren’t sure exactly how to play with their children, there’s no reason to worry. Children love making up their own games and they will gladly inform you of the rules. What is more, asking them about the rules will further spark their imagination and make them think more about different scenarios, details, and implications. It will make them see different angles of the game easily (and parents will, in turn, learn how to play).
Improves their motor skills
As they grow, children get better with their gross motor skills and they turn their focus on fine skills instead. These will become incredibly important once they start going to school, so parents should encourage children to play games which will help them in this process. You can easily find educational products shop packs online and get your children something they will enjoy playing with and that will help further develop their fine motor skills. Holding a pencil, coloring and writing, playing with play dough, cutting with scissors, stacking and pulling apart Lego blocks… All these things will be great for children’s motor skills.
We already mentioned how important it is to let your children come up with their own rules when they’re playing. There are studies that show that children who are encouraged to use their imagination early on grow up to become creative and imaginative adults if they don’t lose their creative abilities along the way. Some parents seem to believe that creativity is limited to arts only, but this isn’t the case. Creative children will have no problems finding new and innovative ways to do even the simplest everyday things and they will probably invent new products they will use to make their lives easier or more entertaining.
Developing brain’s executive function
All those mental skills that help us manage our time and focus our attention are a part of the brain’s executive function. Not just that, but those skills also allow us to make plans and organize, help us remember even the tiniest details and decide what might be appropriate to say in a situation. Growing children learn to deal with their emotions and they remember their past experiences, so they make better-informed decisions in the present. Children with well-developed brain executive functions have better self-control and self-discipline, they get better grades in school, and in general, become good decision-makers.
Parents will be surprised to discover that the time children spend in classrooms might not be as beneficial for their brain development as the time they spend on playgrounds. It might look like it’s all fun and games, but children’s brains are changing, developing, and growing while they’re having fun. Don’t discourage them from playing – encourage them to always find new games and make their own toys instead.