Play is important as it enables children to explore and gain skills needed in adult life. Children’s playtime has steadily decreased due to limited access to play spaces, changes in the way children are expected to spend their time, parent concerns for safety and digital media use.
Play can be defined as any spontaneous or organized activity that provides enjoyment, entertainment, amusement or diversion. When children play they engage with their environment in a safe context in which ideas and ideas can be combined and practiced. Children enhance their problem solving and flexible thinking, learn how to process and display emotions, manage fears and interact with others.
Free, unstructured play allows children to practice making decisions without prompted instructions or the aim of achieving an end goal. They can initiate their own freely chosen activities and experiment with open-ended rules.
Social changes and new technologies have greatly impacted the way children play and the amount of free time they are given. As a result of reduced playtime, children are spending less time being active, interacting with other children and building essential life skills such as executive functioning skills that they will use as adults.
Children’s play behaviours may vary based on cultural norms and family preferences, while some cultures emphasize individualism and independent play others engage in more parent-directed play and activities. This can influence how children play with toys and interact with their peers and family members.
Through play children learn to make and make new sounds, they try out new vocabulary on their own or with friends and exercise their imagination through storytelling.
Play nurtures development and fulfills a baby’s inborn need to learn, play takes many forms which can be done by a child alone, with another child in a group or with an adult.
It encourages adults to communicate with the children in their lives, adults support play by giving children the opportunity to engage in play by knowing when not to intervene and by knowing when to intervene. It also gives children the chance to be spontaneous.
It gives children choice, having enough toys is activities to choose from will allow children to express themselves. It also gives them space to practise physical movement, balance and to test their own limits.
Play is fun, learning to play well both by themselves and with others sets children up to be contented and sociable.