Playtme: It's For More Than Just Fun

Play is what kids do. It needs no explanation, it’s all in good fun, after all. But play is also incredibly important. Many young animals play to imitate and learn the behaviours that will help them in later life and humans are no different. It plays a huge role in their cognitive, emotional, physical, and intellectual development and providing the right kind of play can make a huge difference. However, we’re at risk of losing the value of educational playtime. So, here are a few ideas to make sure your kids get everything they need to out of play.

Getting crafty with it
Crafts are a wonderful way to spend time with your children, whether it’s finger painting, making decorations for the home, or baking. It gives your children an outlet for their creativity, but it also teaches them the importance of structure and following instructions for the sake of achieving a long-term goal. The internet is full to the brim with lots of different DIY crafts you can do alongside your children and as they get a little older, you can introduce them to more sophisticated kinds like origami, which also help to sharpen their fine motor functions and can improve their dexterity.
Word games
Games like Simon Says which involve communication and wordplay can be incredibly valuable, too. For one, it can help sharpen up their reaction time, building the bridges in their mind between language and the concepts, objects, and actions that the language describes. What’s more, varied and substantial communication is important for improving their own verbal skills as well. It gives you the opportunity to expand their vocabulary, which will not only help them excel in understanding more words with more ease, but it can help them better express themselves, as well. Plus, word games are a very easy way to while away the time when you’re on a road trip with them or simply making a long school commute in the mornings.
A better standard of toy
When you think of buying your children toys, it’s easy to go with the latest cuddly creatures and popular fads that are flooding the market. They have their own value, especially toys that help them engage in roleplaying, which can help improve their emotional intelligence. However, there are a range of educational toys that can give them a fun way to learn about problem-solving and other skills, as well. Block puzzles, shape sorters and jigsaws are a great example for children that are aged one or under, helping them develop the fundamentals of spatial awareness and logical deduction. What’s more, playing with them and being descriptive, such as describing where the “red triangle” goes can help them more quickly understand different colors, shapes, and sizes.

Making a mess
Just like the more orderly block and shape puzzles, there are the more chaotic, shapeless playthings, like sand and water. Care should always be exercised to ensure that young children play safely with these kinds of things, but they can be just as valuable. Sand play, such as scooping, digging, building and the like teaches them how different materials work, as well as providing some early development for their muscles. The same can be said for water and play dough. It gives them a physical education that lays the foundations of scientific understanding of matter. What’s more, with other children, it becomes an excellent opportunity for teamwork and collaboration, especially if you give them a goal such as building a sand castle or making certain shapes with play dough.
Expression is important
Artistic play is very closely related to crafts but buying or making an art kit for them does have some unique benefits of its own. First of all, it’s important that you’re only providing age-appropriate art supplies that they can use safely and supervising them to make sure they’re playing safe with it as well. Painting, drawing, and using crayons not only helps them express themselves visually and develop a sensory understanding of colors and shapes. It can also help them build the foundation which writing skills can be built on, since it’s teaching them hand-eye coordination. Of course, this kind of play can make a real mess, but that just provides an opportunity to teach them about tidying up, as well!
Strut your stuff on the dancefloor

You might already love your kids’ dance parties because it’s a surefire way to get them tuckered out. Or you may hate them because they make you join in, too!  Dancing not only helps your child develop a sense of rhythm that will help them rock through life, but it’s great exercise, improving their physical strength, flexibility, and coordination. It can teach the habit of physical activity early, making it easier to maintain the habit as they get older and exercise gets a little more strenuous. What’s more, simply listening to music and learning the words to songs is known to help develop their linguistic skills.

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