Understanding Child’s Play

What is child’s play?

Play is a special activity that is fun and enjoyable. It requires active, voluntary and spontaneous participation from a child and aids in the development of language, motor, creativity, problem solving and social skills.

Generally, there are four types of play:

  1. Imitation play (e.g. child copies movement of teacher);
  2. Practice or master play (e.g. swinging on a rope for the pleasure it gives);
  3. Symbolic play (e.g. the swinging rope now becomes a rocket travelling to the moon);
  4. Games with rules (e.g. hide-and-seek, simple card or board games).

Symbolic or make-believe play dominates the years of a toddler up till nursery school age.

Why is play important in a child’s development?

Without the stimulation of play, virtually every aspect of a child’s development will be affected.

Children get to explore their surroundings and learn how things function through play. A child can rehearse the roles that adults undertake and learn interactive and social skills.

Play helps a child discover their limits and special talents. In the process, he/she would also learn how to deal with emotions such as happiness, sadness, fear and anger.

The physical development of a child is also aided through play. He/she will acquire coordination, motor skills and learn about teamwork.

I would rather my child spend time learning the alphabet in a classroom format than waste time playing. Is it a good idea?

A child learns best through play. Play helps a child make sense of the world and their surroundings, develop concepts and understand how things and ideas are connected. It also helps to develop basic skills in reading, writing and communication.

Children naturally love to learn and would do so at their own pace. To impose a strict classroom format for learning before a child is ready may inhibit his/her creativity and willingness to try things out on their own.

Play makes learning enjoyable because it allows a child to develop and explore the world at his/her own pace. By learning through play, a child’s self-confidence and self-worth begin to grow as they master the tasks which they have chosen.

What kind of play activities are conducted by Pibo’s? How do they help my child?

The play activities conducted by Pibo’s are organised to allow for the children’s individual differences, pace and style in learning. These would be developmentally appropriate.

Play activities would complement the classroom centre’s/corners and integrated with the centre’s approach.

What is my role in my child’s play?

Your attitude toward play is very important. Be encouraging and your child will develop self-confidence and mastery in learning through play.

Play with your child and you will also enjoy the experiences which enrich and foster the bond between you and your child.

You should observe your child at play to see what his/her interests and concerns are. Provide adequate space for both indoor and outdoor play. Do allow your child time for uninterrupted play.

Teach your child to put toys away after use. This fosters responsibility and prevents falls or injuries from stepping on toys.

Play should be enjoyed for its own sake. Give your child the freedom to play, to enjoy his/her childhood and to enhance his/her growth and development.

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