National Play Day “Play helps children to learn…”
National Play Day August 2020
“Play is the highest expression of human development in childhood, for it alone is the free expression of what is in a child’s soul.” Friedrich Froebel
Play is a familiar term to us all but do we truly understand its value?
Play and its importance has been recognised from as early as early as 300 BC when the infamous Aristotle referred to the importance of play.
Whether it’s a game of peek-a-boo or this little piggy, riding a bike, jumping in puddles, playing a board game or being messy and creative, play provides us all with endless possibilities to grow and develop. The skills learnt from play experiences help to prepare us for the roles we undertake later in life and the relationships we enjoy through role-play and interaction with others. We don’t need toy’s and games to play, we can be resourceful, using whatever is available. It might be making a rainbow shaker from an empty plastic bottle, making a puppet from an old sock or glove or building sandcastles on the beach. One of the most important aspects of play, is the shared experience of fun and enjoyment which is amplified when in the presence of a mutually engaged adult or child.
Play helps children to learn, to develop language and communication, to explore the environment, to be creative and imaginative and also helps to develop our ability to concentrate and focus. Furthermore, play is fundamental in promoting good mental health as it allows us to express emotion and boosts a child’s ego, confidence and self-esteem.
Being ‘playful’ with our children, friends and family and ourselves, can be as beneficial as sitting down to a more formal play activity. When we are playful, we are more likely to make connections with others through shared laughter and enjoyment.
“With children, it is the joint moments of delight that build the social brain.” ~ Mariah Moser
Whilst play occurs across all cultural and societal daily interactions, Play also provides openings for healing past trauma’s, loss and grief and in helping to prepare children and their families for potentially difficult experiences. Since the mid twentieth century, the birth of specialist use of play as a fundamental basis for children’s therapy and emotional well-being in both Play Therapy and Hospital Play, to name but a few.
Our Therapeutic Practitioner Donna, is a Certified PTUK Play therapist. This is her room in our South West office. Through the use of play and creative arts, children have been supported to explore and ‘play out’ their inner emotional life and experiences in the first language they learnt, play. Play provides the child with the opportunity to explore and resolve their inner turmoil and to master new experiences through the therapeutic relationship with the play therapist.
Play provides children and adults with an array of benefits. It’s not just child play!