We all have been gifted with the power of imagination, which only needs a very elementary start for things to take shape or find meaning. Our thinking prowess and creativity are developed from play and nothing else. Toddlers and young children dwell in the most creative ideas of play. This could be their way of spending all the energy they have or their way of exploring the world around them.
If you ever find yourself thinking that play could instill a sense of procrastination while studying in later years, then think again. Children who play all sorts of games, be it hide-and-seek or peek-a-boo, have a greater exposition to brain development, emotion control, and organizing skills. Play is their doorway to stress-busting, initial knowledge of maths, and even language. Combining them with great ideas of play and supplementing them with ample amounts of the right toys would only do good for them. In this article, we try to understand how different types of play could help in your little ones’ growth.
Staying away from the television
One of our society’s biggest challenges today is that preschool kids are spending way too much time in front of the television. While we could justify that with the current conditions of our lifestyle of parents working long hours and preferring indoor care for children are the cursory reasons for this to happen, pediatricians would agree with the fact that the average child spends more than 4 hours in front of the television. Some might find this duration alarming, but experts suggest that it is only natural for them to do so.
If you opt for counseling with a pediatric expert, you would be surprised to see them agreeing with the norm that has become a sign of lifestyle change in the past two decades. The only solution that could help parents is to look for more play. Be it a safe park in your neighborhood or child care program in your local playschool; if it includes outdoor or indoor play, then you must try encouraging your kids to enroll for the same. They must get familiar with the physical world before moving to anything virtual.
Age-wise ideas for play
Learning through play would be one of the most exciting options your kid would have to better understand the world around him/her. If you want them to grow up gracefully within a happy and content atmosphere, then looking into ideas as drafted by AAP(American Society of Pediatrics) and their coveted experts would give you much-needed insight about the world of children and their affinities.
Birth to twelve months
Right from their first day of life, engaging with them in all types of play will only keep them babbling happily for more. The only thing that matters during this period is to keep them away from crying too much.
For starters, just like we all do, keep responding when your baby smiles and make him/her laugh in interesting ways. Most parents do this, but it does imply an important observation that you are playing with her attention and making her feel important. Imitate his/her sounds and try conversing with whatever toy or topic he/she is entranced by. Show your baby bright colored toys or anything that garners his/her attention. Let him/her feel the toy and do as he/she wishes. Most of them try feeling it with their mouth. Also, try moving your baby around in different positions to give them a feeling of flexibility.
Once your toddler grows to be twelve months old, make space all over your house for him to crawl and explore. Give your baby a chance to explore the mirror in your house. Let him explore his own expressions and make meaning of whatever he sees. Hand over all the safe toys and let him choose which toy to play with. By doing so, they get to know the feeling of getting to be amidst a wide range of play items.
One to three years
This is the age group that requires almost a whole day of playtime. While choosing your child’s playschool, keep in mind that the one that supports the maximum playtime would be the best for a happier experience. Try staying away from anything that involves phones or screens and resorts to wooden pencils, lego sets, or educational toys. In that way, they will spend their time exploring every material and find their comfort zone.
As a parent or as a caretaker, it is almost mandatory to give them time to become aware of their body’s flexibility. Show them how simple jumping or standing on one leg is a fun way to explore their own body. Their imitation of our social activities would manifest in the form of tea parties and kitchen sets, which is another way of helping their imagination take different forms. Parent supervised playtime dates with other children will do wonders on the socializing front for your child.
This is also the age where they seem to be interested in music and rhymes. Read to them different age appropriated nursery rhymes as Simon Says. Making them watch you read out loudly in a simple manner will bring about an innocent curiosity in them about reading and words.
Four to six years
Children who belong to this age group start to think out loud. They tend to ask multiple questions around every trivial subject, which requires a very patient parenting interest. Let them ask questions that capture their imagination and find the best answers that their little minds can wrap around. Regulate screen related playtime as your child will be in the mood to explore every attractive form of entertainment during this phase.
Be a part of their imaginary parties and worlds that they create from thin air. A feeling of inclusiveness is the best gift that they can get from you. Talk to your child’s school teacher to encourage playtime and much-needed group activities.
Mixing forms of play
Mixing different play forms can help them bust stress or any form of infant anxiety that might trouble their early days of school. The AAP has observed that permitting them to play freely for a minimum of fifteen minutes can relieve them from any stress. This could be by letting them play with their peers. Or by finding innovative ways to entertain them. This could even be their interest in pretending to be a doctor or a fireman. Do not hesitate to buy them their doctor set or spiderman clothes to help them explore different ideas of their surroundings.
Toddlers who are introduced with pretty much anything tend to explore ways to entertain themselves. Try giving your baby banana and watch them use them as a phone. This is their way of exploring the sensory-motor skills that help them imagine and extrapolate between what they have seen and what they could do. Allowing them to turn into little detectives with whatever they find is a worthy exercise for the right kind of development.
Provide them with the thrills of the outdoor world. A simple backyard park setting or your neighborhood open garden will do justice to their ever-increasing energy. Your little ball of energy will spend his or her time exploring until they drop. Getting tired after playing is the epitome of exhaustive happiness in a child’s mind.
Wrapping up, we suggest you should jump at every opportunity that comes your way to bring some joy into your and your child’s hearts. Be it educational toys or encouraging your child to spend time with other children or even childcare programs, a child’s time spent playing will only equip them with the ability to find the right ways of staying happy, even after they grow up.
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