There is so much conversation around play. It seems to be a hot topic in child development and education. Play is an activity so important in a child’s development, it is a crucial piece in the learning puzzle. Play provides opportunity around social interaction, cognitive development such as concepts and problem solving and endless opportunity to move through scenarios that they are not old enough to explore in reality. In addition to this children will often play the same game over and over and repetition is crucial in learning and laying neural pathways in the brain. It also brings a new set of circumstances to every situation depending on external forces such as who they are playing with and the outcomes of their behaviour or someone else’s.
Social Opportunity Play will see children explore relationships with others, role playing, sharing ideas, working together to solve problems and use experiences they have had and piece them together to build on stories. It will provide opportunity to build connections with others and create memories that they can continue over time with the opportunity to include others and create positive alliances socially.
Cognitive Development Play is an act of mimicking real life experiences and situations that they see modelled by their parents and peers. It is an opportunity to experience things that they might not be able to do in reality such as driving a car. It incorporates memory, imagination and problem solving. All vital in brain development. They start to test concepts and ideas exploring boundaries and concepts such as consequence and right and wrong. It provides them with an opportunity to explore certain concepts, ask questions and problem solve.
Motor planning and development Play encourages movement and motor planning to mimic actions, behaviours and role play. This will encourage movement patterns, creates obstacle courses and an enormous opportunity for both gross and fine motor skill development. Because it is based on copying behaviours and actions it is extremely functional and incorporates the entire body so extremely beneficial in their core stability and functional strength and development.
Provides opportunity to explore new experiences and therefore learn Providing new experiences for children will bolster their understanding of working with others, problem solving and learning that actions have consequences. It provides the opportunity to practice and live through themselves what they see others doing which will in tern provide them with the knowledge and understanding that their behaviour has an impact on situations and others. It will enable them to predict outcomes to situations both physically and emotionally and provides opportunity for them to communicate and interact with others. It really is a fantastic opportunity to learn and explore movement, behaviour, socialising and new concepts. Experiences are what contribute to learning.