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Understanding Children’s Play

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Presentation on theme: "Understanding Children’s Play"— Presentation transcript:

1 Understanding Children’s Play

2 Overview What is play Types of play Why play time has declined
How we can support our children’s play

3 Famous comments about play
Children need the freedom and time to play. Play is not a luxury. Play is a necessity.” Kay Redfield Jamison (professor of psychiatry) “It is paradoxical that many educators and parents still differentiate between a time for learning and a time for play without seeing the vital connection between them.” ~ Leo Buscaglia (author, educator)

4 “Play gives children a chance to practice what they are learning…They have to play with what they know to be true in order to find out more, and then they can use what they learn in new forms of play.” ~ Fred Rogers (Mr. Rogers’ Neighborhood) “It is becoming increasingly clear through research on the brain, as well as in other areas of study, that childhood needs play. Play acts as a forward feed mechanism into courageous, creative, rigorous thinking in adulthood.” ~ Tina Bruce (Professor, London Metropolitan University)

5 Adults sometimes think of play as a guilty pleasure a distraction from “real” work and responsibilities. According to Dr. Stuart Brown, “ Play is a basic biological drive as integral to our health as sleep and nutrition”.

6 What is play? For an activity to be regarded as PLAY, it should be freely chosen by the child and the child must want to do the activity for no other reason than because it is fun.

7 Characteristics of Play
Children enjoy play There is flexibility in purpose Children seek out opportunities to play There is a non-realistic aspect to play Regardless of where they live, children learn, through play, how to be in the world. They master communication skills, explore differences and similarities, develop empathy, connect with nature and with one another... While some of the ways children play differ from culture to culture, the act of playing is universal.

8 The Canadian Association for Young Children believes that:
Play is natural Play is essential for children Play is fun, exciting, adventurous, open ended Play is creative and spontaneous Play is magical and complex Play is rewarding and stimulating Play is non-threatening Play in non-judgemental Play is directed by the children Play is full of choices and decision making Play is posing questions and hypothesizing Play is focused on the process and not the product

9 Types of Play Sensory/manipulative/object play and physical play
Constructive play Dramatic /Fantasy or symbolic play Games with rules

10 Sensory/manipulative/ object play and physical play
Children learn mostly through play. By exploring , tasting and manipulating, children process new information and construct their own sense of order. Babies and children explore the physical environment around them with smell, sight, sound, touch and taste. Babies start to play within weeks of their arrival. They begin exploratory and practice play as they discover that they can control their own bodies. They open and close their tiny little hands and reach and grasp, firstly for Mum and other familiar people, then objects such as rattles and soft toys. Infants use their senses - smell, sight, sound, touch and taste - to explore their environment and discover the world around them. Young babies love to practice and refine their skills and achieve great sensory, gross and fine-motor development rewards for their efforts. Children like to play, they need to run, chase, ride, skip and jump. The more they play, the more they want to play again. Article Source:

11 Motor/Physical Play Provides opportunities to develop both individual gross and fine muscle strength.

12 Constructive Play Constructive play is about creating things with constructive and goal oriented activities, such as painting, playing with dough, building towers etc. Constructive play is an excellent means of developing fine-motor skills and hand eye co-ordination in the younger child. By four years old, constructive and goal oriented play emerges. Constructive play is about creating things - playing with dough, building with blocks or painting a picture are all forms of constructive play. Children thrive on complex constructive projects that produce identifiable products. Five and six year olds particularly enjoy constructive play with higher levels of social collaboration. For seven and eight year olds, the finished product becomes important. These children enjoy the challenge of construction sets with complex interlocking pieces and models that result in detailed and realistic productions. It is at this age that concrete operational thinking emerges. Children engage and develop this new type of thinking through object manipulation and experimentation. The manoeuvring of individual pieces in order to reproduce design patterns or create an original design requires the use of reasoning and problem-solving strategies as part of play.

13 Constructive play allows children to experiment with objects It gives children a sense of accomplishment and empowers them with control of their environment

14 Children also need to spend time on quiet activities that develop their fine motor skills, eye-hand coordination, and attention spans; activities such as: cutting gluing painting doing puzzles reading coloring drawing 14

15 Dramatic Dramatic play enhances social, emotional, linguistic and mental development with creative role playing It supports and promotes social development, allowing for your child to learn cooperation, sharing, leadership, negotiation and problem-solving skills Pretending helps children overcome fears and cope with feelings at transitional stages in their development

16 Imitating, imagining and dramatizing allows children to try out new roles and experiment with language and emotions. During role play children can assume an identity through which they relate to other people and objects as if they were not themselves. It is common for children to extend themselves to a higher level of maturity and development during role play. This is particularly important for language development as a child becomes a different person, of a different age, in a different place. During the period between ages two and eight, it is quite common to see children take on a whole host of pretend characters - common, familiar and everyday occupational roles through to superhero and other fictional roles. Ages five and six get great pleasure from overt socio-dramatic play - role playing in the home or supermarket, travelling to a distant country or being on an adventure at sea in the middle of the night. Older children continue their imaginative play through more elaborate role playing, such as the direction of a puppet show or dramatization of a circus performance. Costumes and props encourage and enhance the child's experience of their pretend situation.

17 Games with Rules Usually games involve others, competition, and rules. This type of play may appear with preschoolers, but is found more often in elementary school children This type of play can build self esteem if the child is proficient, but it can also be harmful if the child is ridiculed or driven too hard (by parent, coach, or even peers)

18 Society may have changed, but children at root have the same absorbing interest in play
Despite the availability of a huge array of toys for children, including ICT (Information and Communication Technology) and despite the claim that children nowadays 'demand' expensive toys (many are promoted as 'essential for children's learning’). Children are still happy to explore simple play materials including large cardboard boxes and home-made sound makers, craft activities and lively physical games

19 Play time has declined Children are being pushed to build a “child resumé” through organized academic, sporting, and other activities Children are often being passively entertained through computers, television, and electronic games Fewer safe places exist for children to play in, which leads to more controlled, adult-directed play as parents &caregivers seek safe places for their children There are more families with two working parents so there are more children in child care, where there are occasionally more organized play structures set up

20 For some of our children, this controlled and hurried lifestyle is a source of stress and anxiety and may even contribute to depression.

21 The Value of Play Play fosters a child’s physical, social, emotional and intellectual development.  In fact, play is so important to children’s optimal development that the United Nations High Commission for right of every child. Human Rights has recognized it as a human

22 As children play, their brain develops, their muscles grow strong, and they develop good social and life skills such as learning to share, take turns, make choices and understand the feelings of others.

23 It helps children learn who they are, what they can do and allows them to explore and practice how the world works.

24 Play also helps increase children’s concentration and cooperation with others.

25 High Quality Play In high quality play children are truly engaged Infants and toddlers are young explorers (parents are willingly to let their children tale risks that are right for his or her age) Preschoolers & older children-complex play benefits them in developing “executive function” (i.e. concentration, impulse control, problem solving, foresight)

26 High quality play leads to self-regulation (children’s ability to calm themselves, control their behaviour, and focus on tasks?) Ever wonder how to help children self-regulate. The answer may be, “Let them play!”

27 What can you do to encourage your child’s play?

28 The most important things that parents can provide are:
Time Space Materials Caring adults 28

29 . Provide open-ended play time Allow your child the time that he or she needs to explore, discover, and control the environment. They need long, uninterrupted periods for spontaneous free play. The periods should be at least 45 minutes to one hour Provide open-ended play time. Let children have long periods of time daily to plan and take part in play activities. When you ask children ahead of time to choose what they want to play, you help them focus attention and follow through on plans. “Dmitri, your plan was to play a board game. What game do you want?” Offer open-ended materials so children can plan creatively: blocks, sand, water, colorful scarves, streamers, etc. They may turn blocks into a city, a hill, or a bed. The scarves may become clouds, a waterfall, or blankets. Help children put disappointments into words so they can calm themselves and focus on putting things back together. “Your block tower fell and you feel frustrated. You could build another one. Or do you want to put away the blocks and play with something else?” Encourage make-believe play. Provide props so children can take different roles: parent, baby, rescue worker, pet, dancer, magician. A child who pretends with others learns to follow the “rules” of the role he plays. “I’m the waiter. I give you a menu, and you tell me what you want to eat.”  Observe to find out if children internally patrol their own behavior as they play their make-believe roles. “I can’t play with Celia now. I’m being the waiter for Kaya and Will.” Give children a chance to set limits when a playmate doesn’t follow the rules. They will often remind each other to control impulses during make-believe play: “Don’t growl at me, Waiter. Waiters don’t scare people.” Help children negotiate with each other during pretend play. When children disagree, encourage them to talk to each other about what they want. If plans have to be changed, remind the children that they have options. “You want the magic wand. But it’s still Emma’s turn. You can sit and wait. Or you could play that this cape is magic and wear it till Emma’s done.”

30 Outdoor Play Make sure your child has plenty of time outdoors. Nature provides a rich environment for play. It encourages boisterous, vigorous, physically active play that develops your child’s strength, balance, and coordination.

31 Arrange play dates for your child so that he or she has opportunities to play with other children.

32 Encourage Make-Believe Play
Give your child materials that encourage him or her to create their own worlds – a stack of cardboard boxes, a trunk of dress-up clothes, blankets, pots and pans, for example.

33 Recognize that mess, roughhousing and nonsense are all parts of play

34 Help children negotiate with each other during pretend play
When children disagree, encourage them to talk to each other about what they want. If plans have to be changed, remind the children that they have options. “You want the magic wand. But it’s still Emma’s turn. You can sit and wait. Or you could play that this cape is magic and wear it till Emma’s done.”

35 Other Ways to Support Play
Value children's play and talk to children about their play. Adults often say "I like the way you're working," but rarely, "I like the way you're playing." Play with children when it is appropriate, especially during the early years. If adults pay attention to and engage in children's play, children get the message that play is valuable

36 Parents can involve themselves in play but should mentor or coach rather than interfere
Children should be the prime architects of play Parents and teachers need to be intentional in enhancing children play

37 Create a playful atmosphere
Create a playful atmosphere. It is important for adults to provide materials which children can explore and adapt in play and to reach their full potential.

38 Intervene to ensure safe play
Intervene to ensure safe play. Even in older children's play, social conflicts often occur when children try to negotiate. Adults can help when children cannot solve these conflicts by themselves (Caldwell, 1977)

39 Undirected play— i.e., play without direct adult supervision
— is particularly important, because it allows children to learn how to work together, take turns, share, negotiate, resolve conflicts, and advocate for themselves When play is child-driven, children can practice their own decision-making skills; they can also move at their own pace and pursue their own passions When play is too controlled by adults, children may learn to acquiesce to adult rules and concerns but lose the sense of play, particularly the creativity, leadership, and building of group skills

40 In conclusion Child-initiated, child-directed, and parent-supported play is a valuable way for children to learn There is a wealth of research which highlights the many positive results appearing from children's involvement in play

41 Play is enjoyable for all but often underestimated for its unique way of positively influencing physical, cognitive, and psychosocial development This world of play offers children vast opportunities to learn about themselves, others, and the environment in which they live.

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