When Children Play, the World Wins!
“It is a happy talent to know how to play” — Ralph Waldo Emerson, once famously said.
Playing doesn’t only mean recreation or enjoyment but rather becomes an essential part of every child’s life and very vital for the social, emotional, intellectual and physical development. HapClap believes if a child is asked about what he/she thinks is most important in his/her life, playing, friends and family are usually the most likely answers.
What does playing actually means?
HapClap defines it as “what children do when they follow their own natural instincts, ideas and interests, in their own way, and for their own reasons”.
Play not only means sports or physical activities, even other activities such as drawing, singing, cooking etc. can be referred to as playing. Playing gives children the opportunity to meet and socialize, keeps them physically fit and active, and gives them the freedom to choose what they want to do making them more independent.
However, there is a never-ending debate on the balance that the parents should strike between academics and playful activities for children. Most parents theoretically want a balance between the two, but end up having more academics and less of other activities. Children are not always passionate about studies and it is a proven fact that only studies don’t lead to holistic development of kids. For an example, Steve Jobs, Ex-CEO of Apple, was a college dropout but still managed to run a billion-dollar company because his ideas were truely ground breaking.
Play is important for the development of children because it contributes to the cognitive, physical, social, and emotional well-being of children. Play can be of many types, either the conventional sports activities or even activities such as pottery, clay modeling, crafts work, painting, etc. are considered as playing activities by children during their childhood.
Play is so important to optimal child development that it has been recognized by the United Nations High Commission for Human Rights as a right of every child.
A parent should never underestimate the value and power of play. There are many benefits of play for children, some of which are listed below:
Learnings through play- Children learn various things while playing and later can reinforce their learning’s in multiple areas. Play gives them a place and a time for learning that cannot be achieved by completing academic homework. For example, playing scrabble considerably improves the vocabulary of children. Therefore, even if a child wants to stay away from books and studies, parents can resort to such play activities which teach indirectly.
Play leads to physical development- Different types of physical activities help develop different skills such as skipping develops balance, soccer leads to stamina, cricket involves hand and eye coordination, etc. Moreover, activities like cycling, running, yoga, etc. help children to stay fit and healthy. Further these games help indirectly on development team spirit, leadership skills, mental resilience, physical endurance as well.
Social Skills- Individual play is important but it is in a group that children learn how to get along with others and how to handle conflicts and negotiate best results for everyone. Playing with others gives real-life learning to children and helps in developing social skills. As children play and interact with others, they learn to negotiate, cooperate, and share their views.
Play enhances imagination- Anything around a child can spur his/her imagination from a block of wood to a pen. Children tend to believe that one thing can stand for other things. Using this ability they can transform a block of wood into a boat, a paper into an airplane or any other thing for that matter. This different perspective is quite key for innovation and superior design which are a key skills required by employers for adults.
Play reduces stress- Children often need time to relax and be just kids. Play helps kids remove stress and crankiness. It is joyful and provides an outlet for anxiety and high energy bubbling in kids. Therefore, it is important to ensure that a child engages in play just for the sake of fun. This may include anything from playing with toys to paint something or simply running around the house or park trying to catch other kids.
Play leads to laughter/happiness- We often keep saying “laughter is the best medicine” and same applies to kids too. Children feel great when they participate in something they really enjoy. And that’s what play is all about — all the giggles, laughter, playful shrieks of kids leading to happiness.
Play, thus can help in holistic development of children and therefore, parents need to realize the fact that children are not only made for books but also for playing and to create something beautiful with their god gifted talent and creative minds.
It is not difficult to find activities with play and learning for children. HapClap has got a few suggestions for you to start with:
1. Jigsaw Puzzles and Rubik Cubes- We all know what they are! You can engage your kids in solving such puzzles which lead to improvement of their problem solving and cognitive thinking skills.
2. Singing and Musical Instruments- Children since early age tend to imitate actors & singers while watching them sing or play any musical instrument. Singing or playing simple music instruments help to develop rhythm, listening and hearing skills. Further, if they continue to pursue this hobby, the deeper they get involved, the better their concentration becomes, which is useful in any activity they engage in.
3. Art and Craft- You can engage your little ones in craft activity such as Paper Mache which requires the use of old newspaper, glue, and water. Playing with such materials will teach the child how to bring out best out of waste and at the same time will trigger creativity streak.
4. Abacus- Abacus is a Chinese tool which improves mathematical skills and enhances speed and accuracy. This tool can be introduced as a game to children and while playing with the same they’ll automatically start learning something worthwhile.
5. Drawing and Painting- Does your little one sketches out his/her imaginations on the walls of your house? Drawing and painting pictures can encourage creativity, imagination, and expression of feelings. So let the kids engage in these activities.
It is very important that learning becomes fun for children and play allows that.
Therefore, it is said that when children play, they have fun and learn new things and hence, making the world win with their smile and happy faces. It is about the need to allow them to do things that they like.
Let let them play. When they play, we all win!