Across all cultures, kids spend a lot of time being engaged in play. If kids are encouraged to play in groups or solo, you will find them creating stories, adventures, songs, or sports. So what is so compelling about being engaged in play?
It is through play that children learn how the world works and how to interact with it. They understand how to fit into that dynamic. Play is what enables them to have a fundamental knowledge of life.
Before we proceed ahead, let us understand why play must be made a priority for kids.
Why Play Should be Made a Priority?
The mainstream approach to education is not primarily geared toward play. Kids usually spend a lot of time in classrooms, learning things that are not designed to hone skills in specific areas. Also, after-school hours are spent in tuition classes, sports practice, or learning another language, leaving not a lot of room for spontaneous play.
By encouraging kids to play and helping them remove the time for it, we can support their development in social, emotional, physical, and problem-solving skills. Today, a lot of children are suffering from high rates of stress and depression than ever before. These problems can be simply be solved by committing to play.
How Can Parents Support Children in Play Experiences?
1) Set the Stage
Set up an environment for your kids that encourages paly. This can include clean, safe, and developmentally-appropriate spaces. Also, ensure that the play area has comfortable surfaces and natural light. Provide children access to toys that are at eye level and create cleanup expectations and safety boundaries.
2) Provide the Right Materials
Offer your kids with play materials that can be used creatively and can be used for various types of play options. Opt for materials that encourage imagination, problem-solving skills, and cooperation. Limit screen materials and ensure digital detox from time to time. This is because it can lead to unhealthy habits, and does not support individual thinking. You can keep play equipment in bins or boxes for ease of accessibility, cleanup, and better organization.
3) Make Time for Unstructured Play
Give your kids time and space for unstructured and imaginative play. Children might not be familiar with them at first, however, once they can get through the confusion and boredom, they will start coming up with play scenarios. To encourage play, you can also help them come up with activities such as enacting a movie character, building blanket forts, creating art from best out of waste products, or just take them to your nearest playground. The options are endless!
4) Follow Your Child’s Lead
Notice what your kids enjoy playing. Do they love music? Gift them a musical instrument or allow them to pick their own songs for dancing. Are they intrigued by art? Give them colored pencils, collage materials, paints, and paper. Do they enjoy building things? Give them tools and games such as lego. Providing play options will help them be engaged in play and develop their creative sides.
5) Seek Out New Locations
For kids, play can happen almost anywhere and anytime. Notice when your kids are most engaged and scout out places for them to explore. It can range from museums, playgrounds, parks, nature trails, beaches, camping, and community events. Such locations are a great place for kids to play and explore. It is important to note that places such as playgrounds can significantly boost their physical development.
We hope you have gained some valuable insights from this article. In conclusion, you should seek out friends, schools, and a community that shares the common belief that playtime is essential for kids. You can also organize play dates with your friends and families who encourage their kids to play. Implementing the above-mentioned steps will surely set the foundation for a happy and fulfilled adult life for your kids.