Sunday, March 6, 2011

Importance of Play in Early Childhood

"All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy." - An old proverb

Playing is a much needed activity in the early childhood. You may have come across a child playing and you are sure he is having a fun time. However, there is more to the picture than meets the eye. The reason is that "play" is the building block of a child’s intellectual skills. The parents should realize that through play, their child develops social skills, problem solving skills and also interpersonal skills.

Parents should ensure that their child plays with other children. This is important because it helps in the emotional and social development and also in learning skills such as negotiation. By playing with the children of their own age group, a child learns lessons in sharing and give and take. You could rightly say, play is an integral part of learning.

A child is born with an innate talent and an urge to learn new things through exploration. For instance, when a toddler starts to walk, he would not like to be carried around. He wants to walk. As a child grows, as a parent you should instill new skills and also teach him/her new things through play. This is when play becomes an important activity in early childhood.

Importance of Play in Early Childhood

Play is important in early childhood because it helps prepare a child for school. Engaging in play activities helps to nurture social and language skills. When a child engages himself/herself in hands-on play activities at home, it helps to refine his listening and reasoning skills. There are many multi-sensory play activities that teach a child to understand and learn through touch, sight and sound.

Play is important in early childhood because it helps in the physical development of the child. Obesity is a common problem among children today. Engaging in outdoor games helps in preventing childhood obesity. Outdoor games also help to nurture and co-ordinate the sensory-motor development of a child.

Singing along with your child or engaging in play activities involving rhyming words enhances the language learning. Experts opine, it is necessary to nurture oral language skills in the early years of childhood than teaching word recognition and letter sounds. As a parent, you need to understand that talking to your child would enable him/her to pick up the language quickly. Apart from engaging in talking, singing songs, reciting poems and story telling would enhance language skills in a child.

Play helps to hone math skills in a child. Children grasp the concepts of math at an early stage. As a parent, it is your responsibility to develop this skill by engaging them in play activities such as counting the number of objects in a sack, teaching them relationships like short and long, big and small, less and more and so on.

Through play, children not only learn many new skills, but also develop self-esteem. One thing worth mentioning is, parents must learn to respect the interests of their children and let them take the lead while playing. Play helps in developing a healthy and long-lasting relationship between a child and his/her parents. It also helps the parents to gain an insight into the thought process of their child.

By Maya Pillai

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