There are a number of parents, including me, who advocate that we encourage children to play. It is through play that little children develop small muscle skills, eye-hand coordination, physical skills, memory, creativity and language skills. Through play, children have an avenue to practise skills already learned. They learn how to understand the world around them and it allows self expression.
So, don't think that play time is a waste of time. Don't bog down children with too many organized activities and study that they have no time to engage in play.
Here are different ways children play.
Exploration This is where children use their 5 senses to observe and discover the world around them. For babies, you can do finger plays. Play with their fingers and toes with these favorite rhymes: "This Little Piggy Went to Market" and "Round and Round the Garden." The latter is my baby's favorite. As they grow older, give them time to explore nature and how things work. Of course, exploration has to be within safety limits.
Look mom, I caught a dragonfly!
Imitation Basically it's "monkey see, monkey do." If you talk and sing to your baby often, you'll see they will start to imitate your sounds and expressions. If you have toddlers, you'll notice a "mini-me" running around as they try to do the things you do. Sometimes they can be a nuisance and get in your way, especially when you are trying to get things done quickly. However, the best thing parents can do for them is to let them participate and not exclude them in your activity. If you want them out of your way, provide them with toys or similar safe objects to play with. For example, giving them play dough and they can pretend to cook and cut.
Physical Play Give them time to run, jump, climb, crawl etc.... This helps them learn to control and coordinate their body movements. If you don't have time to take them to the park, just blast some music and let them dance around. Balls are every kid's favorite. Teach them to roll, throw, catch, bounce and kick it.
Constructive Play This entails building or making something. Building blocks and lego are some examples of constructive play. This is great for their eye-hand coordination. It also helps in teaching them about patterns, size, shape and colors. Art and craft projects are wonderful activities too. Young children love to cut and glue. You can teach older children simple origami and they can use that in card making. For simple craft ideas, check out FUN KIDS CRAFTS.
Make-Believe and Pretend Play I'm sure you've seen your children acting out their little make-believe stories or pretending to be someone they know like a teacher. This pretend and role playing develops their language and social development. This is how they understand people around them. Fantasy play no doubts encourage creativity.
My Super hero son
So you see, playing is not wasted time for children. Now that you know the different kinds of playing, maybe we can do them a favor and support them in these areas.