Let me re-phrase this question. Why children should play? Another ridiculous question, isn’t it?
Majority of the people will have only one answer to this question: Children should play to have “FUN”.
Now let’s take a step back and ask the same question again. But this time let’s try to find a second answer to this question without the word “FUN”. It’s very difficult to get an answer by keeping “FUN” out of the answer, isn’t it?
What we parents do not realize many times is that by playing something, the child is actually exploring the world around him. He learns lots of things about the objects and the people he comes in touch while playing. Thus playing is actually helping in Child Development by developing the child’s:
All parents are aware of these skills at a subconscious level. Many a times we do not necessarily think about how to develop these individual skills. Before we get into how to develop these skills (which we will do in another article) lets first understand what these skills actually are and how playing develops these skills.
Newly born babies are helpless when it comes to controlling their own muscles. They depend on someone else to control their own body movements.
As they grow up, they start to move around. They start to play with anything that comes near them. They start touching, pulling and throwing the objects or they just try to walk, run etc.. In effect, they start to control their own muscles.
This kind of playing is actually helping the child to control his large and small muscle groups. In effect, playing is developing the child’s Gross Motor Skills and Fine Motor Skills.
Cognitive Skills are skills which relate to learning and thinking. With the help of Cognitive Skills a child learns about different topics and objects.
When a child plays with different objects, people and with games on different topics, he learns more about these objects, people and topics.
Through play the child is now able to distinguish between colors, solve puzzles, build structures etc.
Thus playing is actually helping to developing a child’s thinking and learning capabilities.
When a child is born, his emotions are closely related to his needs. For example, the child will cry when he is hungry.
As the child grows up, his emotions then get bonded to his near and dear one. When they cry, the child cries, when they laugh, the child laughs.
As the child grows up further, his emotions are now related to his moods. He will start to cry when he is not given something or start laughing when someone praises him.
When a child plays with a toy or game, and he wins or loses the game or breaks the toy, he goes through the emotions of joy, sorrow, disappointment, exhilaration, excitement etc.
Thus playing brings out the development in child’s emotions.
Usually a child plays with parents or with other children. As he plays with other people, he starts interacting with them and that helps him to learn some Social Skills.
The child will learn that sharing is a good thing, he should not say bad things to others, and he should not steal from other or lie to others.
Thus playing helps in developing the child’s Social Skills.
Now that we have understood how playing actually helps in Child Development, I guess we have answered our original question as to why playing is important for Child Development.