It is commonly known that children need to play in order to explore their worlds and develop as individuals. Play is essential to growth for children!
It is commonly known that children need to play in order to explore their worlds and develop as individuals. What is less well-known, however, is the importance of free playtime – unstructured time during which kids are allowed to choose their activities. This blog post will discuss the benefits of free playtime for kids and why it is essential for their development.
One of the benefits of free play is that it helps children develop their fine motor skills. Fine motor skills are the small muscle movements we use for tasks such as writing, buttoning a shirt, or tying our shoes. These skills develop over time and with practice.
During free playtime, kids often engage in activities that require them to use their fine motor skills. For example, they might build a tower out of blocks, thread beads onto a string, or draw a picture. As they manipulate objects and attempt to achieve their desired outcome, they strengthen the muscles in their fingers and hands.
In addition to fine motor skills, free play also helps kids develop gross motor skills. Gross motor skills are the large muscle movements we use for tasks such as walking, running, and climbing. These skills also develop over time and with practice.
Sports teams, leisure leagues, and school sports are just a few of the ways that kids may keep physically active. When asked in a May 2020 poll in the United States, 26 % of those surveyed confirmed that their children engaged in youth sporting events.
Don’t undervalue the importance of play. Children need play to learn and develop:
As children develop and mature, they gain better abilities to comprehend concepts, ideas, and information. They also have the ability to focus on specific topics and think critically about the issues involved. When kids engage in creative playtime, they will get a lot of exposure to all of these aspects of their cognitive abilities. This exposure can help them to grow and learn.
When kids play, they get to interact with their environment and improve their cognitive skills in the process. They have the opportunity to build relationships with other people through games and learn new things about themselves and the world around them. Playing games, for example, has been shown to increase spatial awareness, memory, logic, problem-solving, and other mental abilities.
According to a study by the British Journal of Developmental Psychology, researchers found that kids who played an active game, like tag, for 15 minutes every day scored significantly higher on a creativity test than those who did not play. Another study showed that playing computer games was more beneficial for enhancing cognitive abilities than watching television or listening to music.
Children who have had a difficult start will often have a more challenging time learning social skills and developing appropriate play habits later.
Occupational therapy can help these children learn how to play and healthily interact with their environment. Through play, they can practice social skills, develop positive relationships, and learn how to cope with emotions. Play is an essential core to pediatric occupational therapy!