To children, play is as vital as breakfast in the morning. Children put every ounce of energy and concentration into play, for it is their way of learning about themselves, other people, and the physical world around them. Play has a critical role in children’s intellectual, social, emotional, physical, and language development.
Children’s play takes many forms. They play independently, sometimes near each other but with each child focused on his/her own activity. They engage in was is called “parallel,” perhaps using each others’ toys or even talking, but not coordinating their play. They also play cooperatively, organizing roles and scenarios for group play. As they get older, children are capable of more cooperative, coordinated play. But all types of play are valuable.
As kids play with each other, they learn to see other points of view and begin to become more empathetic and caring. They come to understand the customs and rules of their own culture and to appreciate those of others. They learn to use language in new ways to describe their play and to interact with others. Also, in play children develop their muscles and coordination by running, jumping, playing games, and other physical activities.
Adults support children’s play by providing space, opportunity, and materials. We set up areas where kids can play without fear of injuring themselves. We make sure that they have time to choose and become engaged in their own play activities. And when we provide them with simple, interesting materials; no expensive gadgets required! Let the kids take it from there.
Play is fun. Play is a child’s work and it is the essence of all learning!
We offer group and individualized services to help children and adolescents with developing social skills that are critical in establishing healthy interpersonal relationships as well as improving self confidence and social and emotional development. If you or someone you know would like more information, contact our office at (503) 352-0240.