I have been reading around the subject of play, this is what I have discovered…
We all know that children learn best through play, but what is play?
Play is what people and children do, when they choose to occupy themselves, in their own way, with their own interests and ideas, in a way they want to.
Play is about freedom of choice. It allows us to meet friends and learn to socialize. It also lets us be active, both physically and mentally, therefore suggesting it is good for our health.
Play helps increase a child’s self-esteem, as well as their self-awareness and confidence.
Children get to use their imagination, to become independent and creative. Through this, they can learn about problem solving and lots of things about their environment and life.
This all suggests to me that play is absolutely vital in a child’s life. However, there have been a number of studies which suggests, that over the second half of the 20th Century, there has been a reduction in the number of opportunities for kids to play. It also shows a link between this and an increase in stress and mental health problems.
I find this quite sad, play is fun and I believe, that is what childhood is all about. Children need play for so many reasons.
So, if the amount of play opportunities for children are reduced, why is that? I’m afraid I don’t have the answer to it, but, here are some of my ideas…
- More parents work these days, for various reasons, which means more children are in childcare and not playing out with friends. My children, only get to play with their friends once a week, as their friends are not available any other time.
- There is so much technology available, children are now choosing to sit in front of the computer or television rather than play or see friends.
- Modern society, I believe can be getting in the way of our children playing. We live in a fast paced life, with so much to do, there seems to be less time available for play.
According to The Nemours Foundation, toddlers should not be idle for more than one hour at a time. It also suggests guidelines that children should have 30 mins of adult led physical activity a day and 60 mins of unstructured play a day. I wonder how many children achieve this?
It sounds like such a small amount of time out of a child’s day, is it really that difficult to achieve? I don’t know, I would just like to raise this issue, to bring awareness of the importance of the need to let our children play.
What are your thoughts on the subject?