When children play, they tend to draw on past experiences to create different scenarios and games. It offers a satisfying experience for them and allows them to discover and explore their thinking and creativity. Generally, the importance of play during early childhood is greatly undervalued. However, people should realize that it’s an important and healthy part of childhood development. Free play time can have a huge impact on numerous areas including cognitive and emotional development, language and social skills. This blog post by Jump for Joy Play Centre in Toronto, discusses the importance of free play time in early childhood.
Free play inspires children to imagine and learn, while encouraging brain development. Placing importance on this time throughout early childhood, can help a child’s brain create critical neural connections. During the first few years of a child’s life, rapid learning takes place through play. Therefore, they also learn important life lessons like problem-solving skills, cause and effect, symbolic thinking, trial and error and so much more.
Most early learning centres emphasize exposing children to a more language-rich setting from an early age. Teachers help them stretch their language skills by asking various thought-provoking questions and encouraging conversational games. However, children have a tendency to create and re-create stories. One of the best ways of fostering a child’s language skills is through dramatic play. The children follow and sometimes even break the rules of conversation, speak and act differently while playing various roles and use their skills of communication to guide their storyline. Language skills and literacy can develop by including language-rich elements during free play time.
A critical part of helping a child build their social skills, is by allowing them to play and interact with other children from an early age. In the initial years of their life, especially during the first year, playmates are commonly their parents. However, as they begin interacting with children of their own age, they begin to understand how to share their things, be kind and also learn how to get along with others. They should learn how to adjust their own play time behaviour with those of their peers, as it’s a necessary social skill that is only effective when taught early on.
Free time play and creativity go hand in hand, and are known to provide a positive outlet for children to express their emotions. This is why it’s important to make sure that a child has access to fun supplies such as colouring books, puzzles and various other interactive toys. These materials are the most effective way to help them express themselves. Play centres are known to supply crayons, paint brushes, stamps, cards and paper, to keep children occupied with something they enjoy doing.
Although free play provides the above benefits, it’s not actively encouraged in comparison to structured curriculum. That is why it’s up to child care providers to understand how important play time is in children’s early years. Making time for free play in your child’s daily schedule can be beneficial to their development. It will also provide the added benefit of improving their performance in academic activities as they grow up.
Jump for Joy is a wonderful, safe and engaging place where your child can enjoy quality play time with a variety of toys and activities. Our nut-free facility has interesting areas for children and parents to interact.