I recently talked with my MOPS group about the importance of children’s play, so I wanted to share it here too…
Play is such a necessary part of children’s lives because it helps them develop skills early in life, which they will continue to use throughout the remainder of their lives. Play helps children flourish cognitively, socially and even emotionally. We know that play helps children build new skills that help them intellectually; and socially we realize it helps them grasp how to play with other children, but I think we often forget about how play influences them emotionally. It helps them grow mentally, and it helps them to process their feelings through playing out scenarios in a safe environment. Play helps children learn to understand every day life by reenactment and playing out different outcomes. It can help them work through difficult situations as well. It is also a fun way for them to express themselves.
So what are the different types of play?
Active Play. When a child uses his mind and body to engage in play. He manipulates materials and plays with other children or adults.
Adventuresome Play. This type of play is when a child explores new things. She is often pretending, but may take more risks during this type of play to explore the world around her.
Communicable Play. When a child shares his knowledge during play. It can be verbal or non-verbal communication, and it can be simple knowledge or complex knowledge.
Entertaining Play. This form of play is fun and exciting, usually with lots of silliness and laughing and with a sense of humor.
Involved Play. Occurs when a child becomes very involved and focused during her playtime. She concentrates and thinks very deeply about what she is doing during this type of play.
Meaningful Play. Happens when a child replays the things he has heard or seen others say or do. It helps him to build on his knowledge of the topic he is acting out during play. It also helps him to understand situations better when he acts out what he has seen or heard in a previous situation.
Social Play. Simply when a child plays with other children or adults. It helps the child develop appropriate social skills by interacting with others.
Symbolic Play. When a child uses her imagination when playing. She tries new ideas during this type of play. She even pretends to read or write during this type of play.
Therapeutic Play. Allows a child to process the emotions he feelings about a paritcular situation.
Voluntary Play. Happens when a child chooses what she wants to play. She decides how to play, who the characters are, what is happening and where each character should go and how to get there.
Again, it is important for children to have time to play in order to develop their cognitive skills, social skills and for good mental health.
So let’s allow our children time to play, provide opportunities for them to play with others and play with them because play is so important to every aspect of their development!
What’s your favorite way to play with your child?