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Sunday, November 9, 2008

Importance Of Play - Promoting Child Development

I have noticed in nursery classes that whenever our students were not given opportunity to play or any outdoor activities, they were inattentive in class and more hyper. Play time allows our children to interact with their environment and gives us a great insight into how they view the world.

We need to make sure we give our children free time so they can direct their own play allowing their imagination and creativity to grow.

'Play is so important to optimal child development that it has been recognized by the United Nations High Commission for Human Rights as a right of every child. Children’s time has become a lot more structured at home and in the schools. According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, free play is defined as “child-directed play time with no rules” and is a very important aspect in our child’s creativity, and emotional and social development. Free play is important for promoting physical activity and decreasing the incidence of childhood obesity. When children use their creativity, they are more likely to get up and move.

The scientific evidence shows that opportunity to play is more than simply a right for our children, it is a life essential. This means that if children do not play they will suffer from a condition known as play deprivation, which in mild doses makes children irritable and unhappy but which in more concentrated forms turns children into killers and mass murderers.

Playing is an integral component of the human evolutionary process and play in one of its forms has probably been a part of human behaviour for many millions of years.

Play is essential to brain growth and to balanced neurochemical activity.

It exploits biologically ‘sensitive periods’ during which certain kinds of experiences trigger rapid brain growth. Children under ten years of age are thought to have the potential to grow brains twice the size of those of children over that age. Some scientists regard play as one the main factors that human beings have not yet become extinct because of the flexibility it gives them to adapt to changing environmental and meteorological conditions.

Although play itself is vital to human survival and development and to our identity as a species, and is important for those reasons, because increasingly children around the world are being deprived of the space, time and freedom to play our concerns are with the development of appropriate practical opportunities for children to play too. Developing, operating and maintaining these practical opportunities is known as playwork.
Source: Play

* A report from the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) says free and unstructured play is healthy and - in fact - essential for helping children reach important social, emotional, and cognitive developmental milestones as well as helping them manage stress and become resilient.

The report, "The Importance of Play in Promoting Healthy Child Development and Maintaining Strong Parent-Child Bonds," is written in defense of play and in response to forces threatening free play and unscheduled time. These forces include changes in family structure, the increasingly competitive college admissions process, and federal education policies that have led to reduced recess and physical education in many schools.

Get the pdf version: The Importance of Play in Promoting Healthy Child Development and Maintaining Strong Parent-Child Bonds,
Get the html version: The Importance of Play

- Importnace of play at 'blogher'

- Melitsa Avila from has some advice for parents on why playing with your kids is time well spent:
The Importance of Play

- Benefits of Play
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