Though adults are often focused on handling responsibilities, all too often they neglect the importance of play time, especially for children. Although it may simply seem as though they are having fun, there are actually many important lessons for children to learn through play time. Just like in the animal kingdom, young humans learn how to navigate the world around them, including how to handle interactions with others. Here are some of the important benefits of play time for children:
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1. Understanding the World Around Them
From the earliest toys, children learn how to navigate the space and objects around them through play. Even a box has great lessons in how shapes work and how to best fit objects into a limited space. Learning the strength of various materials, from plastic to cardboard is essential when wanting to organize toys or figuring out where to sit. These early lessons will help them to think about these types of decisions as they age.
2. Discovering Themselves
As children participate in various types of play, they discover which activities they find of interest. It may be that they have a great deal of musical interest and talent that is not exhibited by others in their family. Or, sports may be an area of excitement for your little one. Often, it is through play that children first begin to understand themselves as individuals, separate from their parents.
3. Learning How to Interact with Others
In addition to themselves and the world, children can learn a great deal about the people around them and how to interact with a variety of personalities. Cooperation during games and learning to problem solve when obstacles arise are just a couple of the benefits children gain from playing with others. Playing with children with different interests and personalities can expose a child to alternative points of view and ways to find entertainment. It is important they have the opportunity for exposure to many different ways of thinking and playing. Even playing with unruly children may contain the lesson of how your child does not want to be.
Many forms of play involve getting up and moving around. This can help your child to learn a lifestyle of health and activity. When a child is engaged in these types of play, they are not eating junk food or practicing lethargy.
Everybody has stress. Though adults often forget what it is like to be a small child, they also have stress. By playing, children are given the opportunity to work out some of the issues that may be causing them stress or anxiety. Often, it can help them to process the different sides of a situation and learn to feel control over their lives.
Though play time may just appear to be fun, it is an important part of childhood development. The more opportunities children have to explore different types of play activities, the more well rounded their experiences. So, the next time you see your child playing, remember that it is an important part of their overall physical and emotional development.