First, let us look at experts’ concerns regarding the lack of play opportunities for the under tens. There are links between play deprivation and poor childhood development, depression, isolation, poor interpersonal skills, poor emotional development, and addiction tendencies in later life.
Lack of play facilities, especially in inner cities, coupled with less play interaction in families, especially single-parent families, plays a large part in this growing problem. In addition, parents working away from home, fewer safe places to play and the increasing amount of media and screen time all play a part in the decline of playtime and its benefits.
What Do Our Children Gain By Playing
Fun is an obvious answer. Play is about letting go, being creative, laughing and taking joy from the moment, a stress-breaking time out. Encouraging a child to play enables them to develop social bonds, stimulates their brains and exercises their bodies.
All children should learn how to play. In doing so, they improve cognitive and problem-solving skills, coping abilities and interpersonal skills. These skills will stand them in good stead as they mature into adults.
What Type Of Play Should We Encourage
Children need both interactive play and how to enjoy playing alone. Learning to spend constructive and fun time on their own helps a child’s sense of independence. Playing by themselves does not mean they are anti-social. Rather than the reverse, they are learning to be comfortable with themselves. Solitary play can be calming and relaxing, helping a child to self-soothe and understand their own emotions.
Benefits Of Independent Play
- Fosters independence
- Helps develop preferences and interests
- Develops creativity and imagination
- Develops the powers of concentration, persistence, and completion
For primary school children, interactive play is where they discover how to interact with others, organise and get along with others, it is the time that friendships are made. It helps teach them how to manage their emotions. Plus, language skills, maths and coping with stress can all be experienced and learnt through the power of play.
Encouraging Our Children To Play
Playtime at home with parents and siblings needs to be encouraged, but we can also be proactive in school. Providing a stimulating and safe play area for unstructured playtime is essential. There is increasing interest in making the tarmac, boring schoolyards a thing of the past. More and more primary schools are creating rich, exciting environments for children to play in. Playgrounds are specifically designed to stimulate a child’s interest while remaining fun.
The School Playground Company have 25-years of experience in creating outdoor play environments that stimulate and challenge young children physically, mentally and socially. TSPC provide high-quality solutions that entertain and encourage children to learn through play—using active play equipment to develop a child’s spatial awareness and balance. The company can also provide sensory, creative and imaginative play settings within the playground area.
Research tells us that if our children do not benefit from learning through unstructured play, we are handicapping them as they grow. But, it does not have to be that way. At TSPC, we can create the right environment for play to meet every school budget to benefit all the children.