Benefits of Child’s Play

There’s a lot of research done by scientists that prove the benefits of child play. This refers to the time in which children are left on their own—under supervision, of course—to freely explore their environment and use their imagination. In fact, free play has an undisputed positive impact on the development of the mind.

The Importance of Free Play

Just as corporations like Google and LinkedIn practice in their everyday working environments, playtime equals creativity. Creativity, in turn, brings increased productivity with happier and more fulfilled workers. It’s the same thing with children. By providing kids with time for creative and interactive play, you’re allowing them to socialize and explore the world around them on their own terms—no adults telling them what to do. This is where you can learn a lot about what’s going on in a child’s mind. Because learning doesn’t occur in a sterile setting, academic skills are best taught and reinforced in social environments where kids are left to test what they’ve learned through engagement with their peers. You can boost the physical health of your child as well as mental acuity when you give them plenty of time for free play, according to Kid Junction.

Playful Behavior Boosts Learning

Playful behavior makes it easier for kids to learn, allowing brain cells to further grow and develop, says Parenting Science. Kids are better able to understand and process academic lessons when given time peppered throughout the day to make discoveries on their own. This free time is in addition to school gym time, which is great for kids’ physical exercise needs as a necessary part of the curriculum but it is structured by adults. Free time is not, and that’s where the true benefits come into play. Recess is when you can really see kids blossom. They’re supervised from a distance but they are on their own to explore their environment, makeup games, engage each other in social situations, and use their imaginations. Pretend play is vital among children, particularly small kids, as it can boost language skills.

Pretend Play Incorporates Social Rules

If you watch a group of youngsters engaged in pretend play, you may think they’re just having fun. It’s more than that, though. Make-believe play doesn’t only help with language skills; it also fosters a wide range of social skills that come about as a result of cooperation with peers. Such as the ability to pay attention, engage in self-control, double-check impulses, and follow rules set forth in their social circles, says BabyCenter. The ability to self-regulate and think outside the box can also come as a result of free play. When kids engage in make-believe, they are altering what reality is to fit with their own imaginations.

Give Kids Freedom

If you are a so-called “helicopter parent” or educator who always hovers over their children to make sure they’re OK, step back every once in a while. What you witness may amaze you. With so many parents and teachers structuring the entire day of children, there are fewer opportunities for free play. This can be detrimental to the mental health of children. As a result, they simply may not even know how to play on their own anymore, looking to the adults in their lives to guide them through every activity. This can take away from basic social skills and the ability to problem solve, not to mention the theory that kids denied access to free play may suffer from depression and narcissism.

The benefits of children playing and using their imaginations are well documented, so let them have fun and work things out on their own.

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