What children learn through play

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If you want a smart and healthy child, encourage her to play
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What children learn through play is important to their development

Children have always played and always will. While it looks as though the kiddies are simply having fun as they romp around the backyard, they are learning volumes in the process.

Play is not only pleasurable but necessary for a child’s development.

Executive Function

Play helps build executive function, which is a very important cognitive skill. Executive function encompasses cognitive flexibility and working memory, which all of us need. If a person does not have properly developed executive function, which involves the ability to self-regulate, this can lead down the path to crime, drug abuse and dropping out of school. 

When a child plays with others, he learns how to control his impulses, behavior and emotions. He learns discipline, self-control, how to share and how to be social. 

Play and Toys

A child does not have to be showered with the most expensive, state-of-the-art toys in order to benefit cognitively. Give your child an empty box and you’ll see for yourself how inventive and creative he can be, turning the box into his imaginary kingdom or cave. 

When a child plays he learns. What he learns depends on the specific activities he engages in. Playing teaches a child how to recognize textures, shapes, colors and form as well as sights and smells.

Give your child some measuring cups or spoons or a nest of plastic bowls that you’ve retrieved from your kitchen cabinet. He will entertain himself at length, learning in the process how to organize and fit objects. He will begin to understand sizes and shapes and how plastic or metal feels and how it sounds when banged against the floor.

Give your child some non-toxic paint, sheets of paper, various sized and shaped paint brushes and paint sponges and watch her go to town. Introduce your child to real child-sized instruments --- pianos, drums, maracas. Music relates to spatial task performance and improves a child’s spatial temporal reasoning abilities. Kids that learn to play musical instruments do better academically, particularly in math.

When a child plays it benefits his brain because physical and mental exercise increases the flow of blood to the brain and the child in turn gets more oxygen to the brain. When a child works with puzzles or any kind of activity that challenges his brain, he is ensuring the growth and vitality of this very important organ. The brain cells make healthy connections when a child is engaging his brain through play.

When a child is playing, he uses his brain, which improves overall brain function and enables your child to improve cognitive function. This means he learns how to acquire knowledge through reasoning, intuition and perception, which are gleaned when he is playing. 

Hands-on Play

In order for a child’s brain to grow properly, he needs hands-on experience. This includes touching, tasting, smelling, singing and listening. When your child plays brain connections are made and formed. Every time he is exposed to something new while playing, he is forming more brain cells and connections. Children should not be only be allowed to explore, within reason, but encouraged to do so.

When your child is an infant, playing with him and encouraging him to play on his own and with others helps him develop language skills and visual acuity.

When your child learns to sing songs and he repeats the lyrics over and over, he is learning. When a child repeats behaviors, he does so because his brain is wired to promote this type of behavior. The child learns from repetition regarding experiences, patterns and sounds, which promote healthy pathways in the brain.

All play is good play.

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