Did you know fun and games are the best way to stimulate your child’s cognitive development and social skills? Put those flashcards aside and find out more!
All children are born with the intrinsic ability to play. Even baby animals demonstrate play skills - think of the boisterous kitten that runs, jumps, pounces, and rolls. It practices the thinking and planning skills, motor movement skills, and social skills required to be a successful hunter when it grows up. Children are working on their own skillsets from day one: thinking, growing, learning.
The baby learns after crying his mother will come to him – this is basic social communication. The toddler learns if she pushes a cup over, all the liquid spills out and the cup may break. This is cause and effect and teaches us about objects in space and our relationship to them. The 6-year-old schoolboy learns how to interact with his peers through a made-up story, where he is the “baddie” and his friend is the “good guy”. They do this all naturally, and without much support.
But did you know some children do not know how to play? How will they learn effectively without play skills? What can be done for children who don’t play and therefore don’t learn in the same way as their peers?
First, let’s talk about the different types of play. There is a generally well-accepted hierarchy of play and various types of play are common to children of all cultures and countries.
You may have noticed children talking to their teddies or feeding their dolls pretend food. Older children may develop complex social scripts with their friends at school and carry out elaborate storylines with castles and monsters that take days to play out.
Younger kids may simply enjoy repeatedly pouring sand in and out of a bucket. In any case, these are all various forms of play and are typical in children’s development, depending on their age and natural ability.
Your child might not be doing these yet or may never have done these. Play is a series of skills that can be developed with help. Our therapists at Thrive are instructed in play skills training, modelled on Karen Stagnitti’s Learn to Play workshops, and are able to give you useful and immediate support for your child’s healthy brain and body development. If in doubt, contact us today to find out more. Enjoy your play dates!