Children benefit from engaging in a wide range of play activities. One important type of play is physical play. Physical play uses their abundant energy and develop both gross and fine motor skills. Think of playing any type of ball , jumping, climbing, dancing or just running for the fun of it. Being physically active in play is vitally important to a child’s development and overall health. It is not only beneficial for their bodies but also for their brain development, and helps them make social connections and relieve stress. Physical play is equally important for adults.
Kids naturally seem to have endless supplies of energy. That energy needs a physical outlet regularly. Think of the importance of recess breaks in elementary school. Today our society has become more sedentary and that includes our children. We all know of the concerns with childhood obesity. Many are concerned with the influence television, video games, and the internet are having on the decreasing amount of time children are spending in physical play. While this “screen time” does have benefits and kids love it, children should spend most of their time physically playing and interacting with others. It is recommended that children are active 1-2 hours per day.
Symbolic And Imaginary Play
To a young infant or toddler, a block is a block. He might stack them or bang them together. But when a child reaches about age 18 months to 2 years toys become symbols for other objects. Now a few blocks stacked on top of each other are a house, or a wooden block being pushed along the floor is a car, of course complete with “vroom, vroom” sounds. Next that same building block is put to their ear as they copy mom and dad’s cell phone.
Why is this pretend type of play so important for children? What skills do they develop when they are imagining? The benefits of play, and specifically imaginative play, helps to prepare even the youngest children for school, developing important cognitive and social skills.
Imaginary play is how a child learns abstract thought. If they can imagine a box is a pirate ship they are thinking abstractly.Later on, it will be essential to think abstractly. They need to understand how a letter symbolizes a sound or a number represents a certain amount. Pretend play helps the child to think of one object as representing something else.