The Benefits of Play for Children

Posted by Annalee Tomak on February 12, 2018

Playtime for kids is unbelievably important. Fun is the way that children develop social skills with their peers that will carry them through life. On the playground when an argument ensues, or teasing is present, your child is faced with decisions on how to handle these situations. Teachers can step in and show them the correct response then it becomes a learning experience as well.

Some may think that playing alone, on the other hand, encourages children to shy away from others. However,  playing alone also helps kids socially, as it develops a strong sense of independence, promotes creativity and imagination and alleviates boredom when they devise their own entertainment. When a child plays alone on the playground, they can also learn social cues by observing other kids’ interactions without being part of them.

Aside from the communicative know-how they obtain, there are also obvious physical benefits to play time. Encouraging children to play sports and be active individuals is equally as meaningful to their advancement. A sport teaches children teamwork and playing on a jungle gym or in a tree house facilitates an imaginative quality. These are the skills that help guide them into more abstract careers like creative writing or graphic design. Lethargy becomes the norm when children are not encouraged to go outside. Kids can become less capable physically if they aren’t encouraged to be active.

Playground equipment like climbers and overhead hanging apparatuses present kids with physical challenges, and free play encourages them to take risks. When kids take that risk and overcome the challenge, they develop a sense of accomplishment that leads to higher self-esteem. Free play also encourages children to develop skills that build self-confidence, such as conflict resolution and imaginative dramatic play. 

Work and play should work in tandem with each other to ensure that our children are balanced in every aspect of their development.

Because we are in the middle of the coldest part of the year, it’s very important to keep your kids bundled up to shield against viruses and the flu. Colder temperatures can weaken an immune system.  We all know how important it is to keep our heads warm, but children actually lose more heat from their head than adults, so if your ears are chilly, it’s likely that your child could be twice as cold.

Other important parts of the body to keep bundled up and dry are the small extremities like the fingers, toes, and nose. These are the most likely to be affected by hypothermia so make sure that your kids’ fingers and toes are nice and toasty. On those particularly frigid days, throw a hand warmer in each glove or shoe. It’s an inexpensive extra measure to ensure your child’s safety, and the warmers usually last around 8 hours.

A scarf is a great way to keep the neck and face warm, but it can actually be a hazard for very young children if tied too tight. A good alternative is to incorporate a turtleneck into their winter wardrobe. It’s an extra precaution, but it’s just as effective.

Those consecutive frigid dry days can really take its toll on our sinuses as well. If you notice that your children are having nose bleeds more often in the winter time, it’s a good idea to invest in a humidifier. Not only is this easier on their noses and avoids a bloody (sometimes scary for your child) mess, but it also helps to protect against complications from a cold like sinus infections.

If you follow these few steps, it will help get you and your child through the winter with ease, and then before you know it, it’ll be spring, and you’ll be looking for tips on how to deal with seasonal allergies. Until then, stay warm!