Playing is the birthright for all children. It is not only beneficial for their right growth but is this crucial for developing their communication skills. We often hear various schools/educators using the terms ‘play-based learning’. There are also various talks happening around the importance of ‘Right Play’ in early childhood. There are a lot of studies which shows why play is important in early childhood and why the initial years are pivotal learning and development phase for a child.
We all might know it but this is something we need to talk about. With rising digitalisation, everything is easily available in our hands. Knowingly or unknowingly we all are getting tighly defined in our Mobile phones. And kids are like sponges, they absorb each and everything. They look up to us and before we could know and react they have already learned this practice. While I appreciate all the comfort it brings but having said that we can not ignore the cons- reduction in free play. Also, it is really not possible to just wipe-out a screen from our child’s life or our today. But a better option can be to focus on improving the quality of playtime for the right development.
Here are some of the reasons why play is important in the early childhood years:
1. Acquiring new learning skills. Through right play or pretend play, a child acquire new skills which are important learnings which are very important for life skills
- risk-taking and
- the most important- the power of imagining things.
2. Brain development. Playing also has intellectual and cognitive benefits for the brain. It is also said that the right play can, in fact, shape the structural development of a child’s brain.
3. Improved Speech and vocabulary. During playing a child may
- touch and explore things
- watch how they function,
- listen to various sounds they make and
- often imitate them.
All of these help in language development. Even if the child is playing silently, he is exposed to various aspects and is learning important information that he would carry with him and use later.
4. Ability to regulate behaviour. As a child play, he is learning to concentrate on a task. Basically understanding the process of how to share and take turns. These learning, in turn, would help them in regulating their emotions and behaviour to a certain extent.
Also Read: How to teach your toddler how to share?
5. Developing a strong bond. While playing a child begin to build strong bonds with their peers, siblings, friends and even the teachers. Such strong bonds help the child feel safe, secure and supported. These bonds help them while growing up impacting their learnings, happiness, building confidence and maintaining self-esteem.
A good school or a good caregiver in family or staff, really enhance the initial development in a child and most importantly, brings a love of learning. It’s important we understand why play is important in early childhood and how can we maximize that. So, don’t let that curiosity bug die in kids with mobile phones and give them the right mix of playtime.
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