Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Play Time: What's the Big Deal?

Sure play time is fun, but did you know there is more to play time than just keeping your kids busy? “What do you mean?” “It’s not just something fun to do?!” Well of course it is, but it is also a very important tool in the development of your little troublemaker.


Play is the way babies find out about themselves and the world around them.

When babies play they use all five senses to learn about the new things around them, especially in the first year! Your baby is always asking questions about the world like, “What does this feel like when I touch it?” “What does this sound like when I squeeze it?” “What will happen if I push this or pull that?” etc.

Though you don’t actually hear the questions, as parents you do see the results; toys flying here, food spilling there! 

Saying that play time helps development is great, but you want to know how?  Well, I’ll tell you!

Play promotes sociomoral growth as children:

·         Practice social roles.
·         Learn to take perspective of others.
·         Participate in turn taking, cooperation, and sharing.
·         Develop empathy and deal with issues of fairness and rule making/following.
·         Work through conflict with increasing flexibility.
·         Experience sheer fun – the positive aspect of fun is that it is essential to growth and a strong motivation for every kind of learning.

Play promotes cognitive development as children:

·         Change oneself into some object, person, or situation.
·         Combine and practice concepts they have already assimilated.
·         Use and rehearse new skills by putting together thinking skills in new ways to fit the play situation.
·         Learn new ideas from peers.
·         Share and communicated thoughts through roles they assume.
·         Increase problem solving ability (Sylva, Bruner, Genova, 1976).

Play promotes literacy and language development as children:

·         Use communicative (access rituals, topic development and maintenance, turn-taking, negotiation, etc.) skills.
·         Reconstruct events and sequences in events/stories thus leading to increased story comprehension (Pellegrini and Galdi, 1982).
·         Rely on language to organize and structure their play.
·         Practice new vocabulary by connecting words and images with a context.

Play promotes physical development as children:

·         Coordinate their actions with the actions of objects and other people.
·         Engage in activities that develop stamina, flexibility, strength, coordination, and fitness.
·         Practice gross and fine motor skills.

Yes, play is good for your children but don’t forget that play is for parents too.  That’s right, play is for you! Play is a time to enjoy with your baby and get to know them as they get to know you.

Play is important but don’t forget that it is also very fun and can be very easy to do! Here are five simple activities to help you get started:

Play peek-a-boo: little kids love this game and it is so easy to do!

Read a book: Let your child explore the book

Spend time face to face with baby: Imitate baby’s faces and sounds and let them imitate back

Build a fort: This one is great for older children, and all you need is what you can find around the house!

Pots and pans: This lets your baby explore sound!

What fun things do you do to play with your child?

This information came from handouts from Help Me Grow. Call us if you would like to know more!

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