I can only imagine the first thought you had just reading the caption. Not to worry, I will put your rumbling minds to rest. Frankly speaking, that is what goes through the minds of our children between the ages of 3 months to 5 years, they truly just want to play. But do you really know why? Just as Albert Einstein said ‘’Play is the highest form of Research’’. So, when children play, they explore the world around them and carry out research. Simply put, Play is Learning!
Play allows children to use their creativity while developing their imagination, dexterity, and physical, cognitive, and emotional strength. It has been proven to be very crucial for healthy brain development. We can safely say that it is through play that children at a very early age engage and interact with the world around them. Here, they explore a world they can master and conquer their fears while at it.
The benefits of play can never be overemphasised. Through play, children learn skills they need as they grow and develop. Play helps them build relationships and adapt to changes. When children play, they express themselves which encourages them to build their confidence and social skills.
According to an article by ‘indirect government services’, play improves the cognitive, physical, social, and emotional well-being of children and young people. Playing is a natural and enjoyable way for children to keep active, stay well, be happy and healthy.
Kenneth R. Ginsburg, MD, MSEd; and the Committee on Communications and the Committee on Psychosocial Aspects of Child and Family Health
Pediatrics (2007) 119 (1): 182–191. Stated that…
Despite the benefits derived from play for both children and parents, time for free play has been markedly reduced for some children. There are a variety of factors that have reduced play, including a hurried lifestyle, changes in family structure, and increased attention to academics and enrichment activities at the expense of recess or free child-centred play. Paediatricians can advocate for children by helping families, school systems, and communities consider how best to ensure that play is protected as they seek the balance in children’s lives to create the optimal developmental milieu.
In Nigeria, quite a number of people don’t believe in children going to school before 3 years because they often say ‘’Why should I pay for my child to go and PLAY’’. Those structured or unstructured play activities help to build the Fine and Gross motor skills of the child and ensure milestones are seamlessly achieved.
We need to change the narrative that play is for children only. Adults should ensure they engage in some play activities as often as possible. Just like the popular saying ‘’All work and no play, makes Jack and Jill really bored’’.
When you ask me what I did in school today and I say, ‘I just played.’ Please don’t misunderstand me. For you see, I am learning as I play. I am learning to enjoy and be successful in my work. Today I am a child and my work is play.
– Anita Wadley, 1974. –