Children learn through playing. While playing we are experiencing a relaxed state of mind and readily available to actively take in the information being given to us from our surrounding environment.
What is play?
Play is an organized or spontaneous activity that enhances enjoyment, entertainment, creativity, amusement, and/or pastime.
Play helps us:
Have fun and enjoy life
Be resourceful, innovative, and instinctive
Create philosophies and act on them
Increase engagement and concentration
How often should my child play?
This may sound strange, but all humans need play every day and should be balanced with guided play and unguided play.
Guided play is a play experience where an adult has more input.
Unguided play allows for children to do whatever interests them, without as many directions or guides as possible.
Play enhances the growth and development of neural circuits in areas like our prefrontal cortex (decision making) and amygdala (emotions).
Parent/caregiver-child supportive play example.
Situation: A child wants to play in the mud during outside time.
Parent/caregiver personally doesn’t enjoy getting dirty but wants their child to explore, be creative, and not become afraid of the unknown.
We are able to think more rationally about a situation by addressing our fears and anxieties. Parent/caregiver self-addresses any anxieties about child getting dirty by asking self, “what’s the worst that could happen?”
Parent/caregiver tells their child that they can engage in the enriching, dirty activity and thanks their child for asking. Next, the parent gives their child directions to put on old clothes, worn-out shoes, etc., and tells their child to see them after changing. The parent gives further directions if needed but allows the child to make decisions during the process.
Child changes then sees parent when wearing old clothes.
The parent smiles at the child, thanks their child for listening, tells their child approximately how much time they have to play outside, and sends the child on their way to explore.
Enjoy time by playing