When Albert Einstein said that ‘play is the highest form of research’, he clearly knew what he was talking about. According to this report, a study reveals the amazing benefits of playing as children, when in kindergarten, has on them during their growing years. This especially holds true when they become teenagers.
Children love playing. There’s nothing more fun than playing with other children their age. But, for most parents, the idea of playing is equated with wasting time. However, it’s serious business says a study which appeared in journal of Applied Developmental Science. Apparently, playing with other kids using kindergarten massively helps develop their cognitive skills. It encourages them to participate in extracurricular activities in school, and builds their interactive skills.
According to Kavita Mungi, mental health counsellor, one of the primary needs of childhood is to engage with other children. This helps the child to develop language as well as communication skills. There is a give and take of knowledge, which is essential to the learning process. She adds, “Outdoor play helps in their physical development. Playing a simple game like ‘hide and seek’ contributes towards developing their social skills such as sharing, caring, competing and leadership skills.”
Study author Jennifer Astute from New York University says, “This study provides first-time empirical evidence that young children’s experiences and skills in kindergarten may shape their engagement in society later in life.” Sounds like a great idea pushing your little one out to play with other children? Well, it definitely is. However, of late children seem more enamoured by the glitz of various screens available at their disposal. They’d rather spend time pushing buttons on their iPads or watching cartoon characters play with each other, instead of playing with other children their age.
Benefits of playing
Parents should set examples by keeping their own devices away on places such as dinner tables, play time, in schools and family time, feels Ms Mungi. According to her, indulging in simple activities like going out for picnics, playing board games, reading, playing in parks and socialising with other parents with children will help inculcate better social skills in him. Some other benefits of playing are:
- Builds imagination: It helps build their imagination. Almost anything can spur your child’s imagination… be it a toy, or a random floating cloud. By playing with other children, their imaginative skills multiply. One child’s perspective of a cloud along with two other children’s perspectives, often different from each other, allows your child to also be inclusive of other ideas.
- Promotes social skills: As I mentioned earlier, while it may look like ‘child’s play’, it’s serious business for your child and his peers. There is much more to these playground interactions than meets the eye. There is a lot of social networking, adhering to social norms, decision making skills, sharing, relationship building, and much more involved.
- Aids physical development: Apart from their emotional well-being and growth, playing outside is essential as it helps them be physically fit and healthy. When children play, they learn reflexes and movement control, apart from building strong muscles and improving bone density.
So what are you waiting for? Switch that phone off, dress up your children for play and let them grow into happy, confident, and clever children who have an ever-expanding thought process.
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