Maybe you thought it was just for fun, or just to keep your little ones busy, but no, never underestimate child’s play. Playing with toys may look like for mere leisure only, or even just wasting time, but actually when children are playing house or fighting imaginary villains, they’re essentially developing crucial life skills. Yes, those little moments with their robots and dolls are actually preparing them for the challenges that they will face once they reach adulthood.
But with the advent of tablets, mobile phones, and other devices, traditional playtime has been shrinking. So before it’s too late, take the plug off, turn that gadget off, and check out these five scientific benefits of play. Yes, you’re welcome.
- Better Behavior – According to a 2009 study in the journal Pediatrics, kids behave better in the classroom when they have the chance to play on the playground during the day. Comparing teachers’ ratings of 8 and 9-year-olds’ behavior in schools with and without recess periods, kids who had more than 15 minutes a day of breaks behaved better during academic time. So let your child take that much-needed break in between study time. Let them run, jump, tinker with their toys; break time serves as a refresh button for them to restart with enthusiasm and energy.
- All For One, One For All – Playing teaches kids to interact, and yes, play nice. According to a research published in the Early Childhood Education Journal in 2007, playing with others help kids learn awareness of other people’s feelings. Playing also teaches kids to handle their own emotions, a skill that is definitely needed as they move through with life. Socializing, interacting, reacting, yes, those are some skills that playing with dolls, playing on the playground, and more, brings.
- Let’s Get Physical – Obviously, unlike watching television and playing computer games, playing with toys get your kids moving. It is recommended that children (as well as adults) engage in at least an hour a day of physical activity. The American Heart Association says that active children grow into active adults, thus decreasing their risk of having heart diseases or any other diseases for that matter. Playing gets their blood pumping, their muscles burning, their unwanted fat burning, their mind moving—making them a healthier kid, and definitely, a healthier adult in the future.
- Achievement Unlocked Through Experiences– A 2009 Journal of School Health Study found that the more physical activity tests children pass, the more they do well on the academic tests. Yes, indeed, kids learn to count by playing hopscotch, they learn balance and all through building blocks, they learn their nurturing skills through playing dolls, they learn the good and the bad when playing with their superhero figurines.
- Endorphins Educates – Who would want to work, and work, and work all the time? All work and no play will make your little ones sad and stressed. Moving releases endorphins, which are also known as happy hormones, bringing your kids into that good, happy mood. Let your little ones dance under the rain, play dress up along with their dolls, pretend to be a race car driver with their toy cars, spend an afternoon on the playground, and so much more! Their joyful mood will brighten up everyone’s day for sure!
Yes, experience really is the best teacher. Do not box your child and stop them from exploring the world—let them play, let them meet new playmates, let their imaginations run wild with their toys. When they don’t feel tied up, they are more likely to develop skills that are essential as they grow up—curiosity, creativity, and so much more! Let them discover the world, let them get dirty and let them learn on their own. Don’t let them get wired to gadgets and computers—push them into the real world where they’ll learn to respond and react real!
If you have any other ideas, just drop a comment about it and let’s start the conversation. Now, who’s up for playtime?
About the author Gilbert Bermudez is a blogger for CashCashPinoy, an online deal shopping portal of authentic products and cost-saving services in the Philippines. During his past time he enjoys reading and watching movies. You can catch his activities at his Google+ account.