PLAY IS THE WAY:

Benefits of Play

Play is the way for learning

Play is the way to have fun

Play is the way to learn to think

Play is the way to greater understanding of the world around us

Play is the way to develop the skills which lead to reading, writing, and math

                                                                    Play is the way to challenge and overcome

                                                                     Play is the way to have fun as a family

                                                                        (TLFNZ)

Play is the way to learn, persevere, imagine, create, inspire, and have fun. Toys are tools for learning and play is what creates connections in the brain for future development. Research shows that children benefit from playing freely. To play, children don’t necessarily need toys. Sticks, mud, and boxes make wonderful free play toys. But toys provide the inspiration to develop children’s own style of play and in our sanitised society, toys replicate the places, and things previous generations have had easier access to in nature. Research funded by “Milo” shows many children have less and less free play than any generation before with focus changing – some parents are now restricting free play by creating opportunities for children to learn a language, play sport, or being in a classroom at a younger age...the toy library offers a balance between commitments for young children and the opportunities for life long learning through free play. Here are just some benefits:
  • Hands on toys build hand-eye coordination, encouraging ideas about how things work and foster co-operation and problem-solving.
  • Hardwood unit blocks can teach children about geometry, gravity, shapes, and balance.
  • Construction items contribute to muscle strength and help children learn about science and number ideas.
  • Musical instruments and experimental materials such as sand, water, and clay offer children control while appealing to their senses.
  • Active play equipment builds strong muscles and confidence to meet physical challenges.
  • Pretend play objects such as dolls, shops, and dramatic figures give children a chance to try new behaviors and use imagination.
  • Art materials foster creativity and build skills that lead to reading, writing, and seeing patterns in their surroundings.
  • Books and recordings help children appreciate words, literature, and music.
Free play is essential for wellbeing, sense of belonging, holistic development, empowerment, exploration, and communication. By not having the chance for free play under the pressures of society today, whether it’s through school curricula or an imbalance of structured play (that is children not making the rules in their play i.e. video game, adult coached game etc...); this can have a subsequent effect on emotional control, social competency, personal resiliency, and curiosity of the child both now and in the future.

Some names to look for if you wish to look further on the benefits of play or the repercussions of not having free-play include Dorathee Degan-Zimmerman, Sergio Pellis, and Stuart Brown.



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