Play is Essential; How Can We Keep Elements of it?

Play is an essential component of any young child’s development. Play is how children learn. It’s how they make sense of the world around them. It’s how they explore their curiosity in a safe environment. Play is where they learn what their bodies are capable of and where they fit in with others.

If you’ve ever had a chance to watch kittens (or puppies or even lions cubs) play, you will notice how they interact with one another. They learn to stalk stealthily and practice pouncing. These skills become useful when they are older.

The same thing happens when kids play. They learn skills that become useful much later in their lives.

As children play, they copy behaviours that they’ve observed in others. They get immediate feedback on whether this behaviour is acceptable or not. Depending on the feedback, they may adjust and try a different tact.

Almost like your in-laws making an inappropriate joke, then doubling back and saying, “I was just joking!!”

Playing develops motor, social and emotional skills, but perhaps where it can excel is how it facilitates cognitive development.

Through playing, children are able to think critically about their environment (living room with carpet) and create constraints that allow them to explore what their bodies can do (volcanic mountains with pillows as rocks to help them cross the lava).

Studies have shown that playing helps children develop skills in critical-thinking, problem-solving, memory enhancement, creativity and decision-making.

With the abundance of electronic gadgets, opportunities for kids to actively play and avail of these massive benefits have been reduced. The question becomes, how can we as a society do more to help create opportunities for child-led play and activities?

This post was created with Typeshare

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Nabil Murad

Full time professional youth basketball with an avid interest in meta-learning. Passionate about youth development, behavioural psychology and storytelling