Importance of Play in Early Childhood

by admin on July 31, 2008

The importance of play in early childhood is massive. In fact, there are more and more studies coming out that show how playing is vital not only for social skills, but for mental and psychological skills as well. In a society where students are learning faster and are required to learn things at an earlier age, it’s important to step back every once in a while and just let them play.

Social Skills

When you think of children playing, you most likely consider their social skills to be at the top of the list. While it won’t help them pass a math test, interacting well with others is an incredibly important skill that will serve them well for the rest of their lives. You cannot underestimate the power of back and forth play.

They will learn how to share and “be nice.” More importantly, your students will know how to get along with others in adulthood. If they never get exposure to other students it will have a negative impact on their well-being. It’s not hard to pinpoint the adults that had little social exposure as children.

Mental Skills

When little ones are playing, their neurons connect at incredible speeds. They are learning about cause and effect and other essential skills that will accompany them throughout life. Studies have shown that children who have many different toys and social experiences early on in life are more mentally developed later on in life. That is one reason that children with low socio-economic status tend to have lower test scores in school.

Not all play is created equal, and it is important to have your students play with toys that have the potential to be educational. At the same time, keep in mind that it’s amazing what children can come up with in interacting with their world. It’s important to say that even direct learning activities can become playful as your little ones put their own spin on things.

When you allow your students to play, you are also hitting on different learning styles. Not all children learn well by sitting and listening to a lecture, especially at an early age. Being allowed to play especially helps children who have a kinesthetic learning style.

Psychological Skills

Sadly, children are dealing with more than ever these days. It seems that they are required to grow up far before they are ready. When you allow children to play and have fun, it is a great outlet for the stresses they build up from the things they have to deal with. Playing is a phenomenal way to make sure they develop appropriately psychologically.

The importance of play in early childhood cannot be underestimated. As a teacher, it is your duty to make sure your students are allowed to play all throughout the day. In addition to standard playground time you should make sure they also have time to play as a part of their lessons. Many students learn better by doing and experiencing than they do by listening.

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