What does your play history consist of? Going down memory lane, do you see yourself running around barefoot in the field? What about spinning tops, hopscotch, zero point or even kuti kuti? Our formative childhood years play a huge part in creating the unique individuals that we are today and a large aspect of those years is play.

Play is in fact instinctual because humans are born with the innate thirst for knowledge of the world around us in order to survive. Here are some of the key categories of play that you may find your child is actively engaged in:

Object play

You may have experienced The moment when your child would not budge from the toy section in the mall or their tendency to stand on tippy toes reaching for household objects placed intentionally away from them. These actions stem from their drive to use their hands to connect with the world around them. Their hands seek to figure out how certain objects work and manipulate them for their needs.

Social play

Social play involves rough-and-tumble play, spectator play and imaginative play.

While rough-and-tumble play may seem intimidating, it is a platform for children to explore their social boundaries, emotional regulation, likes and dislikes. No childhood is ever complete without some element of chaos! Although, safety is always the priority, it is essential to create a safe space for such a play!

Spectator play on the other hand, seems very much passive compared to the aforementioned. In this type of play, children observe how their peers play and do not interact with each other. Let’s take a look at a photo of a soccer match during world cup, the spectators are still very much enjoying themselves despite not being the players! We observe the players on the field,  crafting scenarios in our minds forming an empathetic link,

A key element of Imaginative play would be the introduction of your child’s imaginary friend! When children role-play, they unknowingly emulate social scripts that they have gathered from the routines they experience. This enables them to understand social cues better! Being another character brings a new world of scenarios they can explore and dabble in problem solving based on the issues their character faces.

The development of cognitive development through play is explained through science by the stimulation of the cerebellum which sends impulses into the frontal lobe of the brain. Putting it simply, play evokes some serious brain exercise! Play develops social skills, emotional regulation, physical toning and creativity. Have you noticed that children play with toy boxes more than the actual toys stored inside? This is because a toy box offers more possibilities for children to explore than a toy serving a limited purpose!

Aside from the obvious educational benefits, play in its essence is just good fun! Play is  intrinsically motivated in which there are no external factors driving children to play. They play simply because they enjoy it! Play is therefore vital in preschools as it is a vital tool for learning and it makes learning worthwhile!

What will your child’s play history consist of?
What will the future generation’s play history be filled with?
Support play!