Children learn so much from play; it teaches them social skills such as sharing, taking turns, self discipline and tolerance of others. Children’s lives are enhanced by playing creatively and by playing children learn and develop as individuals; it assists in their emotional and intellectual development and mental health resilience which are core building blocks for their transition years. In OSHC we watch our children learn new skills and enjoy the pure act of physical play. Here are a few of the benefits beyond the simple fun of it:
- Play builds confidence and imagination. Through physical activity, children are given the chance to try new things, conquer their fears and build their confidence. It’s been proven that when a child is physically active and successful in their movements, they show higher levels of self-esteem and a great sense of accomplishment.
- Play develops key motor and athletic skills. Children will develop and grow without even realising it! When they touch their toes, they learn about co-ordination, balance and spatial relationships. When they play with a ball, they strengthen their fine-motor skills. And when they dance, they learn about rhythm and move to the beat. Being fit appears to create exponential benefits, too. Physical activity also helps Children get throughout the day without fatigue.
- Play with others teaches teamwork and good sportsmanship. Children get to interact with each other in a social, non-competitive environment. It doesn’t matter if they win or lose, it’s about working together and trying their best. For example, in team sports such as soccer, children build off each other’s strength and successes and cheer each other on. They need to learn to work together to move across the field and score an awesome goal.
- Play can build strong bonds between parents and children. When parents or caregivers demonstrate hop scotch, show Children how to throw a bumpy ball, and or lead a boisterous sing-along with their Children, not only are Children learning crucial physical skills, they’re also clocking more quality time interacting with those adults. Parents, too, are more engaged in their children’s lives. When parents are actively playing with their child instead of simply observing, this really allows them to understand what their child loves most: Is it the sing-along, the soccer game, or the handstand? That’s important information.
- Play makes Children happy. As many experts will tell you, play is like children’s work. Play allows children to socialise, develop, and learn new skills while learning about themselves and others. They are able to develop a daily routine that doubles as the perfect start to a healthy, active lifestyle (all without even realising it!).
Written by Candice Bellwvue de Sylva – Area Coordinator, Zone 3 & 4