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We live in more hurried and pressured times and more often than not, we don’t get the time we would like to spend playing with our children.
Understanding the importance of play for your child can help you to ensure that they grow up healthy and strong in every way.
More Than Fun
Not only is play fun, it’s also critical to your child’s cognitive, physical, social and emotional development.
Kids learn a lot about themselves and the world around them through play.
Play also helps you, as a parent, engage and bond more with your child.
As your child grows older, it gives you the opportunity to participate in shared interests which further strengthens the bond between you.
Let’s delve into some of the reasons why play is so important for your child.
Play Improves Your Child’s Cognitive Development
Many parents don’t realize it, but giving your child plenty of free time to play actually improves their cognitive development.
When playing, children stretch their imaginations, use their creativity in diverse ways and find a variety of ways to solve problems.
They develop and fine tune their thinking skills without even realizing it.
Give your two year old a large cardboard box and they will see potential in the box that you might never even imagine!
They will turn it into a fort, a house, a space ship, a pirate ship, a boat or a cave.
For your child, the possibilities are endless!
And you too can join in the fun and share their creative vision.
Give your toddler a set of building blocks and they build empires, with themselves as both the rulers and subjects!
Through play, kids learn how to solve problems, improve their memory and increase the speed at which they process information.
And sometimes simple, more basic toys encourage them to think harder to find creative ways to play, further enhancing their cognitive skills.
For older children, things like puzzles and science toys challenge them and ignite their reasoning, problem solving and cognitive skills.
Play Increases Your Child’s Physical Strength And Dexterity
Active play helps your child build physical strength and dexterity.
Running, jumping, bike riding and other activities, help your child develop both gross and fine motor skills.
Certain play activities such skateboarding, walking on stilts and jumping on a pogo stick all help your child improve their balance, coordination and core strength.
Those types of activities also serve to strengthen your child’s immune system, leaving them healthier and happier.
Stacking and building toys help infants and toddlers improve their fine and gross motor skills.
These toys, along with push, pull and ride on toys also help improve and develop your child’s muscle and joint strength.
Outdoor play has a huge role in helping your child increase their dexterity and physical development.
Even old favorites like hide and seek and hopscotch will all contribute to your child’s ongoing development.
And of course, there are some major healthy benefits to fresh air and exercise, including strengthening your child’s immune system and cardiovascular health.
Further Reading on Outdoor Play
Miracle-recreation.com and Parentingscience.com have well researched articles on outdoor play.
In this day and age, kids are under a great deal of pressure to perform academically, to abide by school and household rules and to perform in sports and other extracurricular activities.
All the pressure can create stress and anxiety for kids of all ages.
In addition, younger children have difficulty understanding and talking about their emotions.
Play allows your child to act out what they are feeling, which helps them to learn how to express and cope with those feelings.
This, in turn, helps them expand and improve their emotional health.
Play also allows your child to recharge their batteries, leaving them feeling stronger and better able to tackle new challenges.
Toys such as tea party sets that involve sharing will help your toddler improve their social skills and their ability to express themselves emotionally when playing with others.
Kids experience all kinds of things when they’re playing and all of these experiences help your child develop emotional strength that allows them to cope better going forward.
They help build a solid foundation for your child so they can grow into an emotionally stable adult.
How To Encourage Your Child To Play
Read more about encouraging child to play.
Giving your child adequate time to explore through play will help them develop into a healthier, happier and more well adjusted person as they grow up.