We commonly refer to those everyday simple tasks in life as ‘child’s play‘ yet play should be considered one of the most complex things out there.
By the end of this article it is my hope that you will see the many benefits of play to children of ALL ages and stages:
Play helps a child practise a new skill eventually moving on to achieving mastery.
Play teaches social skills
Through play children learn language and literacy.
Play can also be used to introduce and reinforce new math concepts or practise the old ones.
There’s independent play, group play and cooperative play!
Play helps a child make sense of their world around them.
Play is a universal language spoken by children around the world.
Play is therapeutic.
Play is healing.
Play knows no prejudice.
Play is ever changing.
Dr. Ganea is the Assistant Professor at the University of Toronto in the Applied Psychology and Human Development Department, she shares her views with us on the importance of play and the vital role it plays in the development of the whole child.
“Play has a crucial role in children’s development….Pretend play allows children to engage in counterfactual reasoning, that is, to imagine ways in which things could be different than in reality. Imagination is necessary for many subjects that children will eventually be involved with in school, such as story comprehension, science or history.
…Role-playing is a way for them to practice being in another person’s shoes, to think about what it is like to think and do things from another person’s perspective. So, by imagining the world from another person’s perspective children get to learn about other people and about themselves. There is now good evidence that children who engage in fantasy play have better perspective taking abilities and greater social understanding and this kind of understanding leads to better social adjustment later in school.”
~Dr. Patricia Ganea
To learn more about Dr. Ganea and the Language and Learning Lab Team go to www.languageandlearninglab.com
These are just some of the many benefits of play; Play is clearly a vital part of the healthy development of the whole child.
Play doesn’t stop or shouldn’t stop as a child gets older! Play simply evolves.
Think of your favourite game growing up and how it made you feel and KEEP PLAYING!