Tracy R. Collins
Early Childhood Education Capstone
Instructor Kathryn Shuler
November 8, 2010
All children need to play it is an integral part of learning and coping with the realities of everyday life. While children need physical activity to stay healthy and fit they also need unstructured, child centered, imaginative play that they control. Many parents today enroll their children in as many structured activities as possible everything from art classes to soccer. While structured activities have their time and place all children in the early years of life need unstructured play in order to learn and ready themselves for school and life. Play is crucial to every aspect of a child’s development; it is critical for the development of the whole child. Emotional development comes as children learn to conquer fears, and accept accomplishment and defeat. Physical development is developed as children run, balance, and use fine motor skills. Cognitive development is found in every activity that a child pursues if one only looks. Finally social development is enmeshed in all play as children learn to cooperate, problem solve, and understand how others feel. Play helps to develop the whole child mind, body and soul.
Emotional development includes dealing with and working through fears, anxieties and desires. Play is how children learn and cope with the realities around them. An article published in, “Redbook” on the values of play tells the following story, “…the other day when a 3-year-old girl came over to our house and began playing with one of my son's plastic sharks. She was making the shark eat plastic insects and fake fish — then spit them out. Then she would make the shark "sleep" on its back. She did this over and over, then finally walked over to her mom and said, "The shark isn't sleeping. The shark died.” "Her grandmother just died," the mom whispered to me. "And before she died, Grandma couldn't eat...