Do not underestimate the value of play! Play is necessary for healthy growth and development in children. Play is also one of the main ways in which children learn! Playing alone and also with others is fun and therefore children become very absorbed in it. Play encourages the development of the imagination, develops motor skills and teaches self expression. Play also helps develop children’s concentration, social skills, and cooperation abilities. Play is also a way for children to let off some steam and relax because play is an outlet for anxiety and stress.
Here are some examples of skills gained through play:
Cognitive skills – Play gives children the opportunity to problem solve (How does this work? Does this block fit here?). Children also learn colors, numbers, size and shapes. Stimulating environments encourage children to think at higher levels.
Physical skills – Fine motor skills are developed as children manipulate and handle small toys and objects. Gross motor skills are developed as a child learns to reach, grasp, crawl, run, climb and balance.
Social skills – Playing with other children allows children to learn how to work in groups, share, negotiate, resolve conflicts and learn self-advocacy skills.
Language, literacy, and vocabulary skills – language develops as children play and interact with others. Through interactions, conversations, and also when books are read new words are learned.