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Why Play Matters

This blog article is about Why Play Matters.

Why Play Matters

Play is important to a child’s development. It helps with so many areas, it’s how children experience and learn about the world! Play is an essential component of early childhood development, research tells us that it has a significant impact of helping a child develop their language, cognitive, social and motor skills.

Play helps develop:

1. Language skill

In terms of language development, play allow children to use language to express their ideas and thought as well as listen and respond to others. A study by Whitehurst st al. (1994) found the preschool children who participated in play-based interventions showed significant improvement in their language and literacy skills compared to children who did not receive these intervention. You can use play to teach your child new words such as words related to size, texture, and sound. It also helps you teach your child a variety of concepts such as opposites, time and cause and effect.

2. Cognitive skills

Play also helps develop your child’s cognitive skills, which includes how they think, understand, imagine and problem solve the world around them. Children are curious about how things work, and they learn best through play. Playing with a variety of different toys helps them to create, experiment and solve problems. They have freedom to be curious, explore and discover the answers to their own questions (e.g., “What happens when I do this?’ or “If I stack the blocks a different way, what will happen?”). It also teaches children to develop abstract thinking such as recognising patterns and learning about spatial relationships.

3. Social Skills

Play also plays a huge role in helping your child develop social interaction skills. Through play, they learn to share with others, turn take and work as team. They also learn to start to negotiating with other children as well as recognise emotions in themselves as well as others.

4. Motor skills

Finally, play is also important for your child’s fine and gross motor development. Fine and gross motor skills are the foundations for everyday activities in life such as buttoning a shirt, tying shoelaces, cutting, typing and writing. By using play to help your child develop their fine and gross motor skills, you are equipping them with the skills to become more independent with navigating the world.

References

Whitehurst, G. J., Falco, F. L., Lonigan, C. J., Fischel, J. E., DeBaryshe, B. D., Valdez-Menchaca, M. C., & Caulfield, M. (1994). Accelerating language development through picture book reading. Developmental psychology, 30(4), 679.

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