Playtime is more than an opportunity to have fun. These enjoyable times serve as essential foundations for physical and cognitive growth. The importance of play in a child’s life cannot be overstated. Why? Because hide and seek, patty-cake, house, and even playing with bubbles from bubble machines are all activities that teach kids to think imaginatively and engage socially. (1)

5 Tips To Help Your Kids Develop Skills Through Playtime

Additionally, they learn how to perceive the world and acquire cognitive and psychosocial skills through playtime. That is to say. Play is critical for your child’s growth.

Benefits of playtime 

Since playtime includes diverse learning activities, it has a plethora of advantages. ‘Towards the Pedagogy of Play,’ a Project Zero research report, discusses some of the benefits of play-based learning, including the following: (2)

Intellectual development 

Play fosters the development of cognitive control abilities, topic understanding, and creative thinking. When kids construct structures with blocks or draw, they learn to count, categorize, form, and evaluate patterns. In addition, when kids participate in dramatic play, they’re developing their ability to narrate tales in a logical sequence, use a diverse vocabulary, and write.

Social development 

Playing with others teaches kids about social signals, active listening, and the ability to see things from another person’s viewpoint—all of which are necessary components of developing empathy. Additionally, playtime encourages children to communicate their thoughts and emotions while discussing and establishing agreements.

Emotional development 

During guided playtime, children develop self-control skills as they adhere to rules and pay attention. Moreover, play teaches kids how to establish and adjust controls and determine when to take the lead and when to obey.

Physical development 

Most kids like to play with their bodies. Children gain strength, muscular control, agility, and reflexes through sports, outdoor activities, and dancing. They can also learn to push boundaries and experiment with new things, encouraging them to take more risks in other scenarios.

Developing skills through playtime 

Learning skills are most effectively motivated by a child’s innate desire to play rather than external variables such as test results. Moreover, children acquire 21st-century skills when they freely connect with and happily explore their environment through play.  

As parents, it’s your job to make sure that your kids have a safe environment to play in. Other than that, you should also help your kids develop skills in any way possible. Likewise, parents are urged to adopt playtime to assist their children in meeting their health and developmental goals.

Here are five tips to help your kid learn new skills while having fun at playtime:

Let them lead 

Children who participate in child-led play can build more self-confidence and leadership abilities due to being given the ability to control their environment. Child-led play empowers kids to choose their activities. In addition, child-led play may also be beneficial for parents since it allows sufficient time to explore and observe the child’s interests. (1)

It’s very tempting for parents to leverage their experience to influence their children. While this impulse is essential for your child’s safety, it may also obstruct play when you attempt to control the situation. Rather than trying to influence the course of playtime, let your kid take the initiative.

Encourage them to play outside 

Nowadays, children spend a great deal of time inside, in front of gadgets. While using gadgets is acceptable in moderation, it shouldn’t be used to replace playing outside.  Outdoor play has a variety of advantages, including the following:

  • Better cognitive function 
  • Improved fitness 
  • Better mental health 
  • Improved sleep 

Playing outdoors also gives children the opportunity to interact with and learn about the natural world, fostering curiosity and knowledge. Hence, try to get your kids to go outside and play.  

If you have a backyard, encourage your children to play there. However, parks are also excellent alternatives if you reside in an urban location with limited access to the great outdoors. Even a little stroll around the block may be helpful and enjoyable.

Make the most of what you have 

Many household items, such as those found in your garage or kitchen may be amusing to kids of different ages. For example, consider repurposing old boxes into toys instead of purchasing new ones all the time. 

You may instruct your children to construct a fort, a time machine, or whatever else they want to do. The freedom to decide how certain resources will be used might inspire innovation skills for your kids.

Remember, play doesn’t have to be expensive or even include physical toys. Allowing children to assume imagined roles or repurpose ordinary materials fosters creative thinking. And it’s also cost-effective. Never undervalue the appeal of huge cardboard boxes, tissue paper tubes, or an empty bucket. (3)

Praise your child’s good behavior during playtime 

Be sure to express your appreciation for your child’s efforts by mentioning something positive about them. Whenever you praise your child’s good conduct, they’re more likely to repeat it. Additionally, be precise with your praises, so your kid understands exactly what you appreciate. When you want your praise to resonate deeper, offer them a hug, high-five, or a kiss on the cheek.

Also, keep your criticism to a minimum. Criticisms demonstrate that you disapprove of an action your kid is engaged in. When kids are often criticized, it may lead to issues with self-esteem. And criticism doesn’t help lessen problematic behavior. Hence, avoiding criticisms during playtime allows both you and your kid to concentrate on the good. (4)

Avoid distractions over playtime 

While there are certain advantages to kids and their parents spending time together on screens while playing educational videogames, digital gadgets may be more of a nuisance than a help. Remember, parents, understand their kids better than any digital gadget and can best assist their playtime and development.

So as parents, you should make uninterrupted playtime a priority whenever possible. According to the American Academy of Pediatrics recommendations, parents should restrict children aged two to five to one hour of gadget use each day. (5)

Final thoughts 

Allowing your kid to play is among the most effective methods to help them develop into curious, artistic, healthy, and happy individuals armed with the necessary skills today. Additionally, you may utilize playtime to practice attentively listening to your kid and praising them. Hence, playtime can be beneficial to both of you.

References

  1. “The Power of Play: A Pediatric Role in Enhancing Development in Young Children”, Source: https://pediatrics.aappublications.org/content/142/3/e20182058
  2. “Towards a Pedagogy of Play”, Source: http://pz.harvard.edu/resources/towards-a-pedagogy-of-play?_ga=2.155645499.1270050182.1527600315-2046453650.1449609785
  3. “6 Easy Ways to Boost Brainpower During Playtime”, Source: https://healthblog.uofmhealth.org/childrens-health/6-easy-ways-to-boost-brainpower-during-playtime
  4. “Special Playtime”, Source: https://www.cdc.gov/parents/essentials/communication/specialplaytime.html
  5. “Where We Stand: Screen Time”, Source: https://www.healthychildren.org/English/family-life/Media/Pages/Where-We-Stand-TV-Viewing-Time.aspx

Alicia Trautwein is an Autism advocate, writer, motivational speaker, and dedicated mom of four. Alicia’s desire to advocate for Autism comes from her own autism diagnosis and that of her three children, niece, and brother. Her life’s mission is to educate on autism acceptance and change the world for future generations of autistic individuals.

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