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Play in Children

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Play in Children
INTRODUCTION:
How important is Play in children’s lives? Play is considered to be highly important and it is of the utmost pleasure for children. It is a mean and not an end; processing of play and not creating an end. Children learn from playing; team-work, social, creativity and confidence.
Children learn various different skills through playing. Play prepares children to develop life skills outside the classroom. Play also provides an opportunity for children to learn academically. Play prepares children for the demands of school and the external world.
PURPOSE:
Play fosters physical development. Play fulfills a wide variety of purpose in the lives of our children. Play promotes the development of sensorimotor skills. Children spend hours trying out the ability to increase the level of difficulty to make the task ever more challenging for them.
Skills that require the use of hand-eye coordination. Outdoor play connects children to their surroundings and nature. Children playing outside can feel their heart beats while running up a hill. They can breathe fresh air and learn about the creatures that may live in the area and explore life cycles of other creatures.
MAIN BODY:
Play influences intellectual development. Both Piaget and Vgotsky states that play in children is a major influence in cognitive growth. Interacting with children during playtime helps with language development, problem solving skills and creativity. These skills help our children later on with reading and writing. Bedtime stories and pretend play can help foster basic learning skills.
Play promotes social skills. Play regulates children’s emotions. Play helps children to negotiate and understand others point of views. Play helps children to learn appropriate behaviors depending on the social context. Play also helps children to cope with distress.
When children take part in dramatic play, they use their imagination, story-telling and problem-solving skills. These skills help our children to learn to read, write and to communicate verbally. When children pretend by using objects in their play, they learn that symbols such as letters represents a spoken word. For example, when children “play store”, and uses objects such as a shopping list and price tags, they get to understand that letters and numbers on objects have a meaning. Play offers an opportunity for children to acquire information that lays the foundation for additional learning.
It is vital to all children to discover the world outside and learn to appreciate their surroundings. Children with disability, they too, can appreciate the world outside and appreciate their surroundings through outdoor play. Preschool, daycare and schools; they must accommodate and meet the needs of children with disabilities by encouraging their outdoor activity. Adults need to be aware of the challenges children with disability face, so, they can encourage them to explore the possibilities of play. In addition adults need to ensure that the children with disabilities has the opportunity to self-initiate play although modeling and guidance maybe required before the children can play independently or with peers.
There are so many different types of play. Pretend play for one; is play in which children let objects or persons symbolize things or people they are not. For example, 3 years old children have difficulty pretending that a paper cup is a hat to them, for them a cup is for drinking. During pretend play, children express their feelings to be doctor giving shots to dolls and the dolls crying. The same doll the pretend doctor gave a shot is now in the rocking chair with pretend mommy rocking to sleep.
Mildred Parten’s description of social play are:
Solitary play - where a child is alone playing even though that child is surrounded by other children. Solitary play is the lowest level of play. This is when the child plays alone. This type of play is typical of two years old. The child is alone and focuses on his or her activity.
Onlooker play - the child watches another child or children but does not directly participate. Toddlers (2 year old) usually engage in a considerable amount of onlookers play. The child will engage in conversation about the play but will not join the play. This is usually more common in younger children.
Parallel play - play in which two or more children engage in the same activity at the same time and place, but each child still plays separately. The children play side by side but not with each other. Parallel play is commonly seen in preschool children. For example, Tiffany and Alyssa are playing in the house area in their preschool classroom. The two children occasionally take a glance at what each other is doing but kept their focus on what each is doing.
Associative play – play in which various children engage but with different goals. Associative play is common amongst 3 and 4 years old children. Children start to really play with others at or around 3 ½ years of age. In this type of play children borrow and loan to each other. At this stage, children begins to form small groups and spend time doing activities together.
Cooperative play – two or more children engage in a play activity with a common goal that requires social interaction. Usually begins at 4 ½ years of age, play characterized by children playing in groups. Children demonstrate division of labor as they work on a group project reaching for one common goal. The children are working together to build a town, each takes a part of the town to build. Cooperative play is the highest form of social play.
Sara Smilansky cognitive play stages have been widely accepted as an effective way of understanding the study of childhood play. Smilansky’s stages of play are:
Functional play last from birth to about 2 years of age. Babies and toddlers play by engaging in repetitive muscle movements. This type of play builds physical skills and is done because the activity is pleasurable. Children that are swinging on a swing or running back and forth are participating in functional play. A baby shaking a rattle is also enjoying functional play.
Construction play last from about 2 to 3 years of age. For example, children working with materials and primarily focusing on making something out of the material they have. The children are all working with the set of blocks to create a structure. The intellectual skills needed to build structures are a step above functional play. This kind of play is the foundation on which children build their understanding of the rules.
Dramatic play last from age 3 to about 7 years of age. Children pretend an object is something else or the object takes on a role other than what it is. For example, a 3 or 4 years old will pretend to be mommy and imitates what she saw does. Children uses intellectual skills to imagine the sequence they are playing out with their peers. Research indicates that children need dramatic play because it is crucial for academic learning.
Games with rules, this is for children at approximately 7 years of age. Children begin to show preference for rule-govern game. Children understand and engage in games with rules. These activities or games require children to agree and know the set of rules before beginning to play the game. After children know and understand the rule, they are held accountable for breaking the rules and will be penalize.
The benefits of play are being recognized by a growing numbers of professionals, teachers, and families. For example, the American Academy of Pediatrics published a clinical report recently affirming the social, emotional, and cognitive benefits of play. Unfortunately, there are still a large number of adults who has fail to understand the importance of play. It is very critical that the many benefits of play be enjoyed or share with families, administrators and other teachers. Every area of a child’s development is enhanced through play.

CONCLUSION:
In conclusion, the theorists like Vgotsky, Piaget, Parten and Smilansky all have one thing in common; child’s play is universal and true. The same hold across culture. Children play with things, anything they can find it becomes a toy. It may not make sense to adults, how important play is, but play is critical for children.
Play is considered to be very important to children. Children learn through playing; teamwork, socializing, creativity and confidence. Outdoor play let children learn about their surroundings and nature. Outdoor play helps promote children physical well-being, attention and coordination.
Children who play out events from a story have improved story comprehension and develop a stronger theory of mind. Play enhances cognitive development. Play is also related to social skills, something every child needs in order to being accepted by a play partner. It is also a positive link between dramatic play and early reading achievement in children.

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