At first glance, play may seem inconsequential. Of course it’s fun — that’s the entire point of it, right? It’s a way for children to entertain themselves and pass the time. However, there’s a lot more to play than first meets the eye. It’s far more than just a bit of fun; it is in fact essential for your child’s growth and development. In this article we’ll take a closer look at the benefits of play and why it is important to your child.
Playing to Form Bonds
Play is a great way for children to learn about how to interact with others, starting with something as simple as imaginary friends, all the way up to siblings and friend groups. They learn how to communicate, compromise, and solve disputes in healthy ways. They form friendships and learn about boundaries, including how to form their own and respect others.
Play can also help your children form attachments and grow bonds within the family unit. Every time you play with your child, your child is bonding with you. Any time your children play with each other, they are forming a greater attachment with their siblings. Bonds and attachments are incredibly important to your child’s social and emotional development, so it is very encouraged to make the time to play with your children as much as possible!
Learning through Play
Children’s brains are constantly soaking in new information, no matter what it is they’re doing. A child can often learn as much from a stroll in the park as they do in a school desk — and play is no exception! Play is how children explore and learn about the world around them, and that exploration and physical outlet of energy is a great way for them to solidify things they’ve learned elsewhere as well as learn new things. How many of us still think of a silly rhyme or song to remember a lesson learned in childhood? That is only one of many ways that play can be educational!
Health and Exercise
While not all play is physical or strenuous, it is inevitable that most children will look for opportunities to run, jump, climb, swing, or otherwise let out all the seemingly endless energy they seem to have. Encouraging play can be a great way to establish a love for movement in your child, setting the stage for a love of healthy movement and exercise throughout their life.
No matter what type of play your child enjoys, it is vital to their social, mental, and physical development, as well as a great way to encourage bonds with friends and attachment to family. Encourage your child to play, and make the time to play with them — it’s good for us adults, too!