Why Is Play Important in Early Childhood Development?

Play is an essential component of early childhood development. It not only entertains your little ones, but it also helps build their skills for the rest of their lives. Playing is key to the development of their intellectual, social and interpersonal skills. It also helps keep kids healthy.

  1. Types of Play

    • Repetitive or practice play helps a child learn new skills and further develop coordination. This coordination will enhance motor skills. Learning a new game or taking part in sports are forms of practice play. Other activities include running, jumping rope, skipping and throwing and catching a ball.

      Symbolic or make-believe play engages the child's mind and imagination. A child will turn a simple object into a spaceship or children playing together will play house.

    Social Development

    • Playing with friends or in a group helps early childhood development by strengthening kids' social skills and helps to build self-esteem. Children who play together learn skills such as negotiation or compromise and how to share with others. Children also begin to form relationships and learn to trust others outside their family.

    Intellectual Development

    • Intellectual development is a significant benefit to playing. Many activities will help your child learn through listening, seeing and touching. Children learn math skills by counting items with Mom and Dad or watching an older brother or sister. It is easy for a young child to learn the alphabet by singing their A-B-C's. This is helpful when kids enter school because they already know the basic concept of the alphabet.

      Playing with musical toys or those that sing songs encourage listening, reasoning and language improvement. Reading, singing songs and letting your kid tell his own stories will also help him learn new words and speak more clearly.

    Physical Development

    • Playing sports and running or jumping rope help children develop motor skills, but this also encourages physical growth. As kids grow, muscle tone begins to mature and develop. A proper nutritional diet will help in kids' physical development. A healthful diet keeps muscles and bones strong and gives kids energy throughout the day.

    Independence

    • Through independent play, children learn to gain personal independence. Once your toddler begins to walk, he always wants to walk, as opposed to being carried. Every parent recognizes the cries of a toddler "no, Mommy, I want to walk!" and off they go. This should be encouraged because developing independence helps kids find their own sense of direction that will carry them through life.

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