Kids love to play, whether they’re racing around playgrounds, cradling dolls, or engaging in some mixed-up game straight from their imagination. As a parent, you may start to worry. Is your child maturing properly? How much play is too much? To ease your worries, read about a few of the benefits of playtime for kids.
Play Is Learning
A child’s job is to learn how the world works, and that doesn’t happen just by reading workbooks. Play is where kids learn and practice all the skills to use as a human being, such as:
- Cause and effect
- Responding to sudden change
Play also allows kids to practice the skills they learned during class time and apply them in a practical way. What better way for kids to practice division than by sharing blocks?
Play Is Creating
Along the same lines, play allows kids to explore new ideas and try new things without dangerous consequences. For example, kids can learn what happens if they try to build a tower with popsicle sticks instead of Lincoln Logs. These things may seem silly to our grown-up minds, but they foster creativity in children.
Play Is Cooperating
Through play, kids learn what it means to be a person living in a world with other people. They learn how to share and communicate, and they figure out what happens when you’re mean to others. But more than this, kids learn how to respond to people who look, act, or think differently than them. The more your child plays with other children, the more accepting and empathetic they’ll become.
Play Is Maturing
It’s hard to look at kids leaping off the monkey bars, screaming that they’re Spiderman, and imagine that it will lead to them becoming mature. But play allows kids to learn who they are and practice being that person. This will help them build a sense of independence and confidence. The child who leaps off the monkey bars will feel they can make other kinds of leaps, too.
How You Can Prioritize Play
How do we help our kids experience all the benefits of childhood playtime? Start with making space for play in your home and your schedule. Try designing a playroom for your kids or setting aside places for kids to get creative. Then, make sure kids have time to let loose and enjoy playtime even during homeschool time. And don’t be afraid to play with them. Even grown-ups need a little fun sometimes.