The Benefits of Play
“The main characteristics of play, child or adult, is not its content, but its mode. Play is an approach to action, not a form of activity”.
(Ref. Best Play, Children’s Play Council, NPFA, 2000)
“Play is the foundation of creativity”
Children learn to live through play.
Many life skills are first learnt through the medium of play. Play is the “SPICE” of life for children.
Play helps the all round development of children through their:
- Social Development
- Physical Development
(health, co-ordination, strength, manipulation and fine motor skills)
- Intellectual Development
(working out answers e.g. speed, quantity, concepts -big/little, abstract ideas)
- Creative Development
(making things/symbols, imagination)
- Emotional Development
(playing out feelings)
Childhood play becomes a resource which can be used in later life to:
- live a full life
- make a positive contribution to mental & physical health
- give a sense of well-being & control
- help make sensitive, sound relationships
- be creative & imaginative
- deal with setbacks and tragedies
( Courtesy – PlayShare)
Underlying all these benefits, for children play is fun and is a positive, natural outlet for their curiosity and energy.
There are increasing pressures on the child’s opportunities for free play (play that is undirected by adults).
- parental expectations of academic progress from an early age
- increased pressures for child supervision at all times
- traffic dangers
- parental fears of ‘stranger danger’
- the loss of natural play opportunities through development, and
- in rural areas isolation and the lack of transport
These pressures are common throughout the world and have severe consequences for the balanced development of children and young adults.
The child’s right to enjoy free play needs to be protected and supported.
For more information on play see: www.futurelearn.com
for a free online play course ‘The Importance of Play in Everyday Life’.
“The lack of flexibility in a child’s world reduces opportunities for experimentation and lessens the number and range of positive experiences. This slows the development of self-awareness, self-confidence and self-acceptance. In turn, the development of problem solving skills is inhibited, resulting in a stagnation in the relationship between a child and their environment”.