Since the title of this blog is The Power of Play, I want to talk a little bit about what play does for our children. The benefits of play are numerous, because while there are so many different facets of learning, play provides most, if not all of them. When playing, children are engaging many different parts of their brain. They are accessing their creativity in order to develop their imaginations, dexterity, cognitive ability, leadership, emotional and physical strength. It is important for healthy brain development. “Play is so important to optimal child development that it has been recognized by the United Nations High Commission for Human Rights as a right of every child.” (Ginsburg, 2007).
When we have these facts, how can we not want to provide children with the most opportunities for meaningful play that we are able to? Play is an essential part of childhood that helps puts kids on the right track for developing skills they will need for the rest of their lives.
And it’s not only the children that should be playing. Play is for everyone! “Play is just as pivotal for adults as it is for kids. ‘We don’t lose the need for novelty and pleasure as we grow up.’ Play brings joy. And it’s vital for problem solving, creativity, and relationships.” (Tartakovsky, 2012) Also, playing with your children helps create strong bonds with them and boosts their self-esteem and their feeling of importance within the family. When you take the time out to play with your children, you are doing more than just playing, or taking time away from your own work; you are providing necessary learning and growth opportunities for your children.
In order to get the most benefit out of play time, children should be provided with a “safe environment that offers a variety of play materials that meet the different developmental skill levels and support the creative interests of children. Toys should be selected that meet the needs of children during different stages of growth and development.”(The importance of, 2007).
This is exactly the kind of environment that CMOO offers to their visitors. A place to play with various different kinds of exhibits and toys, no matter what their developmental stage. And even though the general age group is up to age 8, I have seen older kids, as well as their parents take delight in the many offerings at the children’s museum. All you need in order to enjoy playing at CMOO is a sense of wonder, some curiosity, and childlike enthusiasm.
Play is not just something kids do. It is essential to their very being. Just as it was once to yours. If you are looking for ways to add more play into your child’s day, a few good, basic ideas to introduce are: blocks, pretend play, art materials, sensory play, puzzles and manipulatives, music and movement, cooking, and books and storytelling. These options all offer something different for your child’s development and are all relatively cheap or free. So, what are you waiting for? Get playing! 🙂
Ginsburg, K. (2007). The importance of play in promoting healthy child development and maintaining strong parent-child bonds. Pediatrics, 119(1), Retrieved from http://pediatrics.aappublications.org/content/119/1/182.full
TARTAKOVSKY, M. (2012, November 15). [Web log message]. Retrieved from http://psychcentral.com/blog/archives/2012/11/15/the-importance-of-play-for-adults/
The importance of play: Activities for children. (2007, June). Retrieved from http://www.childaction.org/families/publications/docs/guidance/Handout13-The_Importance_of_Play.pdf