When people tell you that play is your child’s work, they’re not joking! There has been a lot of research into the link between play and working, and the discoveries of various studies have been interesting. For instance, it’s been shown that children who don’t have access to quality pretend play may struggle with problem solving, mathematics, science and in social areas later on.
Play allows children to explore their worlds, both mentally and physically. It offers them the opportunity to exercise choices. Play also gives your child an opportunity to practice their language and social skills, and it offers an endless outlet for their imagination – one of your child’s most powerful learning tools.
Children can try out adult roles when they play – either mimicking mummy when she’s cooking, or pretending to be an astronaut. It develops both gross and fine motor skills, and it helps them to train their muscles and bodies. In fact, if play is restricted, your child is more likely to become a couch potato, and struggle with health problems like obesity. Your child may even use play to work through complex emotions that he or she is as yet unable or unwilling to express.
As you can see, play has a profound impact on young children, their learning and development. There is, however, an even further dimension. When you and the other adults around your child engage in play with him or her, you automatically make your child feel loved and accepted. This helps them in the continued emotional and social development, and in forming relationships later on.