Why play is important
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Why play is important

Views: 14     Author: Site Editor     Publish Time: 2017-09-19      Origin: Site


The importance of play

Playing is one of the most important things you can do with your child, because play is essential for your child’s brain development. The time you spend playing together gives your child lots of different ways and times to learn.

Play also helps your child:

  • build confidence

  • feel loved, happy and safe

  • develop social skills, language and communication

  • learn about caring for others and the environment

  • develop physical skills.

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Different types of play

Unstructured, free play is the best type of play for young children.

This is play that just happens, depending on what takes your child’s interest at the time. Free play isn’t planned and lets your child use his imagination and move at his own pace.

Examples of unstructured play might be:

  • creative play alone or with others, including artistic or musical games

  • imaginative games – for example, making cubby houses with boxes or blankets, dressing up or playing make-believe

  • exploring new or favourite play spaces like cupboards, backyards, parks, playgrounds and so on.

You can be part of your child’s unstructured play – or not. Sometimes all you’ll need to do is point her in the right direction – towards the jumble of dress-ups and toys on her floor, or to the table with crayons and paper. Sometimes you might need to be a bit more active. For example, ‘How about we play dress-ups? What do you want to be today?’.

Structured play is different. It’s more organised and happens at a fixed time or in a set space, and is often led by a grown-up.

Examples of structured play include:

  • water familiarisation classes for toddlers, or swimming lessons for older children – you might see these as important lessons for your child, but he might just think they’re fun

  • storytelling groups for toddlers and preschoolers at the local library

  • dance, music or drama classes for children of all ages

  • family board or card games

  • modified sports for slightly older children, like In2CRICKET, Aussie Hoops basketball, NetSetGO netball, Come and Try Rugby, and Auskick football.

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How play develops with your child

As your child grows, the way she plays will change – she’ll get more creative and experiment more with toys, games and ideas. This might mean she needs more space and time to play.

Also, children move through different forms of play as they grow. This includes playing alone, playing alongside other children and interactive play with other children.

Here are some ideas your toddler might enjoy:

Big and light things like cardboard boxes, buckets or blow-up balls can encourage your child to run, build, push or drag.
Chalk, rope, music or containers can encourage jumping, kicking, stomping, stepping and running.
Hoops, boxes, large rocks or pillows are good for climbing on, balancing, twisting, swaying or rolling.
Hills, tunnels or nooks can encourage physical activities like crawling and exploring.
If you put on some favourite music while your toddler plays, he can also experiment with different sounds and rhythms. You might also like to sing, dance and clap along to music with your child. 

Here are some ideas to get your preschooler’s mind and body going:

Old milk containers, wooden spoons, empty pot plant containers, sticks, scrunched-up paper, plastic buckets, unstructured play.
Simple puzzles and matching games like animal dominoes help improve your child’s memory and concentration.
Playdough and clay help your child develop fine motor skills.
Favourite music or pots and pans are great for a dance concert or to make up music.
Balls and frisbees can encourage kicking, throwing or rolling.
When encouraging your child to kick or throw, try to get her to use one side of her body, then the other.

School-age children  
Your school-age child can have fun with the following objects and activities:

Furniture, linen, washing baskets, tents and boxes are great for building.
Home-made obstacle courses can get your child moving in different ways, directions and speeds.
Simple cooking or food preparation like measuring, stirring and serving food is great for developing numeracy and everyday skills.
Your child’s own imagination: with imagination, your child can turn himself into a favourite superhero or story character.
If your child is interested, you could think about getting her into some sports or team activities for school-age children. Other possibilities include after-school or holiday art and craft activities.

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 Ms. Katie Zhang
 Yangwan Industrial Area,Qiaoxia Town,Yongjia County, Wenzhou, Zhejiang, China (Mainland)


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