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  • Playing Along: The Benefits of Playtime for Your Toddler’s Development

    Before they even set foot in a classroom, children learn and develop a multitude of skills in the world of play.
    by Giselle Santos-Elgincolin .
  • Read on to learn more about the benefits of playitme for your child.

     

    Play Perks
    Why the big fuss about playing? Play benefits the child in ways that might be a tad difficult for adults to imagine.

    •    Play brings pure and utter joy. A toddler who jumps into an empty box and runs around the house “driving a car” shows the sheer happiness that play brings her. When children are asked what they did in school and they answer “play,” it is a clear sign that these kids remember a feeling of genuine joy that is captured in this 4-letter word.

    •    Play fosters socio-emotional learning. What does a 10-month-old baby who shrieks at the sight of her stuffed toy have in common with a 10-year-old girl who plays basketball with her friends? They both deal with their confidence as they choose to embark on their play activities. At the same time, they are displaying their independence in the decisions that they make. These 2 children are also internalizing social rules in their respective play situations: the baby waits patiently for her stuffed toy to appear, while the school-age child has to contend with an impending loss in a ball game.     

    •    Play hones physical and motor development. Play often involves the use of the senses, the body, and the extremities. When children play, they exercise their bodies for physical strength, fluidity of movement, balance, and coordination.

    Perceptual-motor ability, or the capacity to coordinate what you perceive with how you move, is an essential skill that preschoolers need to develop. A 3-year-old who is engrossed in digging, scooping, and pouring sand into a container must match her perception of the space in front of her with her actual hand movements so that she can successfully fulfill the motor activity.

    •    Play facilitates cognitive learning. Play is vital to the intellectual development of a child. We live in a symbolic world in which people need to decode words, actions, and numbers.

    For young children, symbols do not naturally mean anything because they are just arbitrary representations of actual objects. The role of play is for the child to understand better cognitive concepts in ways that are enjoyable, real, concrete, and meaningful to them.

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    For instance, through play, a child is able to comprehend that the equation 3 + 2 = 5 means “putting together” his toy cars by lining them up in his makeshift parking lot.  When he combines 2 triangles to make a square during block play, or writes down his score in a bowling game, the child is displaying what he knows about shapes and numbers.

    Through play, the child is constructing his worldview by constantly working and reworking his understanding of concepts.

     

    Click here to learn more about the benefits of playtime for your child's development.

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