The role of play in a child’s life is undeniably of high significance. It plays the role of a catalyst in a child’s life. It makes a child to learn about himself and the world. Play ensures holistic development among children enhancing their mental, social, and emotional skills. Many researches have shown that play positively impacts a child’s mental health. It develops the skills of problem-solving, memory, and imagination. Since play involves interaction between several children, so it also helps in developing skills like communication, socialization, and empathy. This is nothing but a drop in play’s benefits on a child’s development. In the next paragraphs, we will discuss the importance of play in a child’s life, what are the different types of games a child can play, and their role in physical, social, and cognitive skill development.
Why is Play Important in Early Childhood?
As discussed earlier, the role played by sports in a child’s life cannot be ignored. According to the American Academy of Publications, “play” plays an essential part in development as it contributes to not just a single phase of child development but the overall well-being of the child. This article is focused on enlightening the importance of play during a child’s growing years. Now we will try to explain why play is so important for child growth and development.
● It’s a play by which children get to know each other and learn new things by doing it themselves. In this way, play has a positive impact on the mental health of children.
● During the game, interacting with other children enhances their communication skills and lets them express their feelings. They learn how to work in a team and care for others.
● During the game, how a child talks with each other involves words and emotions. This enhances their adaptability skills.
● In physical games, the best part is that they become physically fit. For this purpose, children are often told to jump and do some running.
Different Types of Play in Early Childhood
Play for children are different from those which are for boys. Here we have made a list of games that are appropriate for children during their early childhood development:
● Physical plays:
This consists of running and jumping exercises. This is aimed at promoting better physical health among the children and also to develop gross motor skills and coordination.
● Pretend Play:
As its name suggests, in this game, the children have to imagine something and then play according to their imaginations. In these types of games, different objects represent different things. It is done to strengthen the creative thinking skills of the children.
● Constructive Games:
In these games, kids are given a number of blocks and are told to make something out of them. During this, kids learn how to think on their own and do what they think.
● Social Games:
In these types of games, kids are to work in a team and help each other to achieve one common goal. This enhances their teamwork skills and makes them understand others’ points of view and respect them.
● Games with Rules:
As the children start growing, they’re made to play games that have rules that are to be followed by the children playing the game. In this way, the children learn to play with discipline and cooperate with the ruling bodies.
● Solitary Games:
Although these types of games might seem to be unattractive, these games are of much significance as they are aimed at exploring the basic interests of children.
Role of Play in Child Development
We have just witnessed the importance of play in a child’s life. Now we need to take a look at the role of play in a child’s life in different aspects. It is an important part and needs to be studied thoroughly. The roles played by Play in Early Childhood Development are as follows:
1- Physical Development
Physical development is not a narrow concept. In reality, it is much wider. For the convenience of the readers, we have divided the term physical development into a number of parts which are as follows:
Gross Motor Skills: This involves the movements in which large muscle groups are involved, such as walking and running.
Fine Motor Skills: This involves the movements in which the smaller muscle groups of the body are involved, like those in the fingers and hand.
Balance Coordination: Those activities in which balance is involved are also encouraged during the early growth stages of children. This involves tasks such as riding a bicycle or playing on the ground. These tasks lead them to learn balance and coordination.
Strength and Endurance: These physical games aim to foster children’s strength and endurance. It makes them physically fit.
Body control and reflex: Games that require the children to act quickly highly enhance the body-controlling skills of the kids with advancement in their reflexes as well.
Positive Habits: As the games require the children to be fit, they need to work on themselves to produce better results and stand tall among the rest.
2- Social Development
Social skills of children that are being developed by playing sports and games are as follows:
Communication skills: You can’t play with your fellows without speaking and expressing your ideas. For this purpose, you’ll have to speak. Thus, due to games, the communication skills of the children are developed.
Cooperation: Team sports enable the children to work with each for one common goal, and in this, the children learn to cooperate.
Empathy and Understanding: Through different phases of games, children learn about others’ perspectives and ideas and also learn to value others’ points of view.
Conflict Resolution: Sometimes, during a game, children get offended and this might result in conflicts sometimes. So, the children learn how to resolve these types of conflicts through games.
Sharing: Games play an important role in developing the habit of sharing among children. It is often established when they share their toys during playing games.
Making Friends: Games enable children to make friends easily. By playing with each other, they put their trust in them, and this trust leads to friendship in most cases.
Self-Regulation: In order to become a fit candidate for a game, the kids have to work on themselves. In this way, a sense of self-regulation is developed among the kids.
These are the reasons why playing games and sports have a very deep impact on a person’s growth as a child.
3- Cognitive Development
Physical advantages aside, the act of playing games also has some magnificent mental benefits as well. It gives off positive impacts on the mind and its functioning. In the points below, we have decided to point down the aspects of mental health that is being benefited by playing games.
Dealing with problems: When playing a game, in order to win, the kids have to make strategies. This strategy-making act enhances their problem-solving skills, which is very beneficial in practical life.
Creativity: Games like pretend play, where kids have to start imagining different scenarios, greatly affects the mental ability to imagine in the kids. This gives rise to creativity in young minds.
Communication: It is a skill that is involved in both social skills and mental skills. In mental development, we say communication skills because it signifies a development in the mind of a person. It involves an increase in their vocabulary and speaking strategies.
Memory: While playing games, it happens so many times when the kids have to recall something from past experiences in order to perform better in the game. These types of scenarios increase their memory.
Cause and Effects: Through games, the children learn that all of their actions have some effects, and they need to think thoroughly before doing anything. This can save them from a number of problems in the future.
Understanding others: The kids, through playing games, become able to understand the logic behind their actions, and because of this, they learn to collaborate with others without judging them.
This is just a small overview of the aspects of mental health that are being affected positively by playing games. There are a number of aspects as well that are being affected by these types of activities.
How does Play Deprivation Impacts Early Childhood?
Now that we have thoroughly discussed the necessity of playing games for a child’s normal growth in his/her early development stages, we need to know what about those kids who don’t get the opportunity to play. Now, we will learn about the absence of play in kids’ lives. Here we have made a skill to show what a kid might lack due to a lack of play:
In his/her mind, he/she will never be able to compete in terms of mental health with a guy who played really well in his/her life. The kid will lack creative thinking and reasoning skills.
Due to a lack of interaction with others, he is going to be really bad at socializing with others, starting communications, and adjusting to a new environment.
Kids who lack playing games also have a deficiency of emotional skills like controlling one’s own emotions and expressing themselves in the right way.
This is the most crucial issue. Kids who don’t play games have no physical health. They have low stamina levels and get tired very quickly. This can lead to a number of diseases in the elderly.
These kids have no creativity at all. Their minds have never tried to think on their own. They have only been guided by their parents, so they don’t know how to think on their own.
Stress and Anxiety:
Games reduce stress to a high level. In this case, the children can easily relieve their stress through playing games, but these kids have no way to relieve their stress.
Studies have proven that kids who have played games a lot are often good at studies, too, compared to children who don’t play any games.
Children not playing games are often left without any friends and are isolated from society. In this way, these kids never get a chance to express themselves, and this can have serious outcomes on that kid’s minds and emotions.
As we can see, these are some serious matters, so they should be noted by educators, teachers, parents, and, most importantly, policymakers. Keeping this in mind, a curriculum emphasizing playing games should be developed. The lack of playing games can impact a kid’s personal as well as social life to a very large extent. Kids should be allowed to go outside, play with others, and share their ideas.
This article is aimed to resolve the issue of whether games are necessary for children or not. After critically evaluating all the facts, we have decided to craft this masterpiece to give you an overview of the significance of sports and games in a kid’s life. We learned about the importance of sports. We learned how life can become an isolated small jail for a kid who never gets the opportunity to interact with others and play. The importance of games cannot be neglected. Whether some may call it a waste of time, but in reality, it is that aspect of a kid’s life that leaves deep marks on a kid’s personality. These marks never go away. This article was written to let the readers know the reason why the quote below was said:
“All work and no play make Jack a dull boy.”