Playing is not a luxury it is a necessity! It prepares today’s children to be tomorrows innovative thinkers and doers. Play is often discussed as a break from “serious” learning, when in fact, playing is the only way to unlock the higher intelligence of humankind! Yes, that is DEEP…but oh so true.
And it MATTERS!! Why? (This is where I bust out in song, “I believe the children are our future. Teach them well and let them lead the way...”) But seriously:
-Playing promotes brain development.
-It helps children learn about themselves and the world around them, preparing them to be good citizens.
-It aids in the development of essential skills that prepare them to be great contributors to the world.
According to 2007 report from the American Academy of pediatrics, brain structure is described as the catalyst for future health and academic success. It is imperative that we understand that for children, play is a natural state that ignites learning, and fosters physical and emotional well being. By age four, a child’s brain structure is 85% formed. In these early years, parents can support the development of their child’s approach to learning by playing with them. Of course as they enter school, children need to have some understanding of letters and numbers, but if they have not developed solid methods to learning they may not have the tools needed to reach their full academic potential.
When children are involved in playful activities, multiple areas of development are ignited:
-Cognitive development impacts scientific and mathematical thinking, language, literacy, research and inquiry skills, as well as independent thinking.
-Socially, playing with others develops creative thinking, problem solving, decision making, and several communication skills like listening, cooperating, and negotiating.
-Physically, playing promotes strong, healthy bodies, coordination, stress management, agility and physical confidence.
-Emotionally, playing encourages self regulation, empathy, resilience, persistence, self confidence and joy.
As parents, we want our children to learn ALL they can so that they can be the BEST they can. One of the most effective things we can do happens to be arguably the most natural thing to do and that is to engage with our children, especially during those critical early years. Play that children will continue to focus on, even when they encounter difficulties, is what molds their individual pattern to learning. When we involve ourselves, it keeps them engaged in the kind of play where this happens. Ask lots of questions, make comments and suggestions, take turns, or simply watch and be available when your assistance is wanted. Your interest will help them use toys, objects, and ideas in a productive way. You will simultaneously be working toward their future success as a student, having fun, and nurturing the bond with our most valuable, precious gifts…our children and our future.