Having seen the concept and meaning of play in early childhood education from the previous article, let’s move on to have a look at 14 crucial benefits of play in early childhood development in this one.
In this article:
- Enhances Bodily Growth and Functions
- Encourages Overall Development
- Essential for Healthy Brain Development
- Stimulates Child’s Imagination and Creativity
- Develops Brain’s Executive Function
- Enhances Cooperation
- Enhances Cognitive Skills
- Develops a Child’s “Theory of Mind”
- Helps Socialize
- Encourages Creativity
- Establishes Bonding with Family Members
- Helps Express Emotions
- Encourages Laughter – The Best Medicine
- Helps Thrive Better
1. Enhances Bodily Growth and Functions
Play is a form of exploration of oneself and of one’s world. A child manipulates objects and finds reality through play. Play is essential for physical growth in terms of a child’s increasing awareness of his bodily functions.
Through play the child reaches out into the widening world of intellect and emotions. Play is the source of development and creates the zone of proximal development and physical space. Active play also acts as an outlet for surplus energy which is pent up, and which makes the child tense nervous and irritable. Play is also a muscle builder. It helps in developing better motor coordination
2. Encourages Overall Development
Free-Play means unstructured play with no cost, which is an essential play way method for a child to grow holistically. It is important for a child to experience all that the adults teach them so that they get new skills on how to work and how to cooperate in play as a team.
Whether the child participates in an organized activity such as football, a dance team or a music band, kids learn on how to cooperate with a group for a particular goal and will help them develop physically and mentally.
3. Essential for Healthy Brain Development
At birth, the brain of an average infant is about 25 of the size of an average adult brain. Incredibly, it doubles in size in the first 12 months. It then keeps growing to about 80% of adult size by age 3 and stands at about 90%, which is nearly full grown by age 5.
During the period of childhood, play stimulates the brain to make connections between the nerve cells, and this connection is what that helps a child develop both gross motor skills and fine motor skills.
Play from the teen years to the period of adulthood helps the child’s brain to develop even more connectivity of the central area, which mainly helps for functions such as planning, and enables good decision-making.
4. Stimulates Child’s Imagination and Creativity
Various studies, including this study at the National Institute of Education (NIE), Singapore, have proved that a child who uses imagination is more creative during their adulthood. Make-believe play is a part of play in which the child’s imagination takes adult’s minds to places where they have not even imagined or thought of.
This creativity during adulthood helps them to be innovative in many ways and in inventing new products which helps in easing human life. Their imagination begins with simple activities such as pretending to play mother and child with a doll, using match boxes as vehicles, etc.
5. Develops Brain’s Executive Function
A person’s Executive Function refers to the mental skills that allows them to manage their time and attention in planning and organizing to remember details and in designing what is and isn’t appropriate to say and to do in a given situation.
While playing, it helps drawing children to use their past experiences in understanding what to do and what not to do in their present situation. Also it helps in mastering their emotions, which are their skills that is central to self-control and self-discipline.
Children who have a well-developed function in executing the skills do well in their performance and get along with others and make good decisions.
6. Enhances Cooperation
Group play is as important as solitary play. But it is only in group play that a child learns to get along with others and handle conflicts in different life situations. They experience group processes of give-and-take, and thought of compromising.
Play is thus one of the real life learning methods that help people to get along with their everyday experiences and interaction with others.
7. Enhances Cognitive Skills
Children involved in a group play take their own time to set up a play-perfect background, so that they can take roles along with preparation of props and deciding on how to proceed with the plan. Through play, children get an idea of where they stand in terms of their own abilities or areas where they have to develop.
They grow their skills such as cognitive, language and physical through experience. Besides the skills they also develop their imagination, concentration, self-confidence and sociability skills.
8. Develops a Child’s “Theory of Mind”
Theory of Mind is the ability to step into another person’s shoes and walk along their way. While a child gets involved in imitative play, they start to understand their playmate’s thoughts and feelings. A child with stable Theory of Mind will have tolerance and compassion towards other people and also will have an increase in their ability to play and work well with others.
9. Helps Socialize
Children learn how to interact with peers when engaged in prey activities while also building on important schemas about the real world. Play is an enjoyable experience for all children.
Children of all ages will spend many hours participating in play activities, because play supports their understanding of the social environment and facilitates their efforts to build a realistic sense of self.
Play has a great value, in that it assists children in exploring and understanding various roles and social interaction techniques.
10. Encourages Creativity
Free Play comes free of cost. It is not necessary that all children can have ready-made props for their play to improvise. When the child is creatively active, even play boxes and sofa cushions can become a fort and a Superman costume can be created out of a salwar short. Doll house can be created out of used cardboards and materials from around their house.
These creative children can resist the temptation to buy the latest electronic devices and ready-made toys, since they get the toys from the materials around them. Children who are encouraged to be creative by using available materials instead of materials from the stores are considered to be more creative.
11. Establishes Bonding with Family Members
Play has a wider role in connecting family members. When everyone in the family spends some time to play laugh giggle and enjoy some spontaneous play together, everyone will feel good about themselves and others.
On the other hand, parents who are always engaged in spending time with their personal entertainment devices find it difficult to form emotional bonds with each other and forego the time to be utilized together.
12. Helps Express Emotions
Taking a back-to-basics approach can be an easy way for an adult to incorporate play into their child’s schedule. When parents or caretakers buy toys for the children, it shows the love and nurturing of a family.
Toys which are provided to the children give them an opportunity to express emotions based on their experiences at home. For example, children watching parents taking care of grandparents pretend mother childcare with your toys.
The most appropriate place for child’s physical activity is the surrounding such as backyard or neighborhood playground. Even though children schedule is prepared by parents who are busy with all lots of activities, parents are at an ease or feel that there will be proper balance between structured activities and free time.
13. Encourages Laughter – The Best Medicine
Play is all about the great feeling that one gets when one participates in an activity that they enjoy doing. While playing, people have fun and while having fun, people laugh. It’s proven through recent researches that laughter is powerful and it’s the only cost-free and readily available method to energize one’s mind and psychological well-being. That is what makes play worthwhile.
14. Helps Thrive Better
While structure please turn out to be a part of growing up, it is important that young children get enough time to play with a safe place and safe people around them. Organized games help older children to learn how to wait for their turns, follow rules and we both come at gain and loss.
During these organized games, children learn to communicate and cooperate and also gain knowledge on some friendly competition. Children learn a great deal from one another while playing with other children.
Play has tremendous capacity to make children creative, open and caring. It also keeps them away from complexes and helps them to become normal people.
Play is practical, authentic and an often suggested educational endeavor for children. Some of the crucial benefits of play in early childhood development, including social emotional cognitive and physical development can be achieved only through play.
Children of all ages will spend many hours participating in play activities, because play supports their understanding of their social environment and facilitates their efforts to build a realistic self. Play has great value, in that it assists children in exploring and understanding various roles and social interaction techniques.
Disclaimer: The content in this page and across this website are for informational and educational purposes only. In case of any concerns about your child’s growth and development, please contact your professional child healthcare provider.