Play is an essential part of any child’s life. Building your kids’ play skills is a smart way to develop their mental and emotional abilities. In this guide, you’ll get four (4) smart ways to build your kids’ play skills without stress.
Many parents know play is vital for children, but even with these benefits, fun isn’t linked to learning ease in kids.
Most things our kids learn at an early age can only be taught through fun and games. Fun activities like patty-cake, peekaboo, hide-and-seek help children develop strong creative thinking skills. It also helps kids socialize better over time. Parents that can pull off developing their children’s play skills will find their kids learn quicker in their formative years.
Since it’s now clear that children develop important skills through play, what can we do as parents? Well, it’s simple – help our little ones develop their play skills. Taking cues from the information in this post makes it easy to boost our kids’ abilities through fun activities.
What is Play?
Play is an engagement in activity to derive pleasure, excitement, and enjoyment. It usually comprises constructive, amusing, or imaginary forms of interaction. Children learn more about their environment through play and gather relevant information during this activity.
Why is Playing Important for Children?
Play supports basic cognitive development in children.
Detailed research has shown regular fun activities for children help them develop mentally, physically, emotionally, and socially. The right kind of play in children provides a strong foundation for better understanding.
Another study shows that offering toys to toddlers usually leads them to a higher IQ within 36 months. With such evidence, it’s pretty easy to see why playing is vital for children.
Play reduces stress and enhances literacy.
Regular play activity helps children release stress, giving them greater support to develop without problems. Kids who also engage in frequent play activities will find it easier to grasp instructions as they grow older.
Why Do Children Need to Develop Play Skills Before Effectively Communicating?
It’s better for your child to fully develop play skills they should have at their age, especially before communicating. Assisting your child develop these skills makes their ascent into other playgroups pretty easy. It also affords your kid the necessary support to assimilate instruction without issues later on.
What are the Stages of Play?
Six (6) stages of play exist in children. Each stage has its marked differences, but they are all crucial to a child’s learning progression. These stages are:
1. Unoccupied stage
Babies from 0 – 3 months fall under this category. Play involves babies moving their limbs to discover their body movements at this stage. No support is required from parents at this stage to support babies having fun.
2. Solitary stage
At this stage, children play alone and tend to refrain from interacting with other kids. But as expected, there may be exceptions in some children at this stage. Children under 2 years of age are in this group.
3. Onlooker stage
Some children may fancy watching others play before engaging in fun activities too. Children around 2 years of age or older are usually grouped in the onlooker stage.
4. Parallel stage
As the name suggests, the parallel play stage is when a child is engaged with toys or other activities near other kids. But in this case, the child doesn’t play in a group at any time but prefers being alone. Children at this stage are usually over 2 years of age. However, parallel play may not be permanent among children, especially when they socialize regularly.
5. Associate stage
The stage kicks off when children begin interacting with other kids during play session, even if interactions aren’t very high. Associate play might also not involve direct interaction between children. In some cases, these kids could be on the same playground or use identical toys without playing together.
6. Cooperative stage
Kids from 3 – 4+ years usually engage in cooperative play than other forms of having fun. In this stage, children play with each other and have an interest in their activity and other kids involved.
4 Strategies to Promote or Encourage Play Skills in their Children
Little things matter when it comes to developing children’s play skills. Take cues from these strategies to help your child develop better play skills without stress:
1. Parent-kids’ playtime
Make out time to play with your child regularly. You could time this period to be before bedtime each day or earlier. Complete fun activities with your kid during this time, and make sure your little one finds it enjoyable.
Draw up scripts to aid your child to engage in playing with toys or other fun activities. For example, let’s say your little one plays with toys. Creating scripts like, “The cat gets on a train", "Here comes the dog", or "Look at the train again,” are helpful. Apart from building their language skills, it helps children sequence their actions while having fun.
3. Peer interactions
Allowing other kids to play with your little one is a great way to help them build their play skills without issues. Structured play sessions (playground, playgroup) are crucial to shaping their play skills. Besides developing their leisure skills, encouraging peer interaction supports better social development for your child.
4. Engaging in other activities
Apart from the other ways to encourage play skills above, it is vital to remain dynamic in your approach. As a great dad or mom, you must find different ways to help your kids build better leisure skills.
Try to engage your children with songs while playing, or lend a helping hand to read play instructions together. You can go several steps further by counting toys with your little one, blowing bubbles, exploring your neighborhood, etc.
Encouraging your child to develop a likeness for learning makes educating them through play relatively easy.
Developing your kids’ play skills prepares them for a brighter, easily comprehensible future. Don’t be shy to experiment with different play techniques to build your children’s penchant for educative fun.
But in everything, make sure your kids are engaged, enjoy themselves, have creative freedom, and have many play options. Surely, positioning your kids to become better is much easier when applying these smart strategies correctly.