Let the children play

I have written before about how important play can be here.  Today I have a few more observations from watching me boys.

Play is the work of children!! Okay that is a broad statement and rather obvious.  For some children it could be fine motor skills that are improving by playing with Lego or creating art.  Others may improve on heir gross motor skills with a fun game of soccer or tag.  There are social skills involved with interacting with others, hand eye coordinations, really the list is endless.  But through play with out pressure or set out comes, a child is more relaxed and engaged with what they are doing.

With my own boys I have noticed that their play really solidifies what they have been learning about.  After reading a book on tractors my youngest will then build his own tractors out of different materials.  He talks about his creations and all the features he has added.  Everything in the house is a farm!  Our seedlings are a delight as MJ brings his tractor over to observe their plants growing.  TJ's current interest is space exploration.  He draws detailed pictures, builds models and plays out different explorations with his creations.  They are using what they have learned and putting it to use in a very tangible way.

One of my boys is very straight forward and slightly inflexible.  He loves to follow the set directions and often only sees one solution to a problem.  He has become more flexible over the years but at times he does get rather frustrated and stuck on problems that arise throughout the day.  When playing pretend all those walls come down.  He is more flexible.   My boy can pretend anything he likes and there are not set rules to follow.  He does still check in with me "Can I pretend this happened...?"  "Is it okay if we forget what I said and pretend this instead...?"  I always answer cheerfully and remind him that he can imagine anything he likes.  I have also noticed that his problem solving is worked, challenged and improved (especially when playing with others).  He can come up with creative solutions to pretend situations and also work with his friends to come up with more solutions to their real problems during play.

Play also allows children to work out very personal problems they are facing.  One of my boys came to me and said that one of his stuffed toys was feeling left out.  He asked me to help talk with the other stuffies about how they were treating their friend.  Together my son and I talked a lot about being different from other kids, accepting each other, making new friends, introducing others to a new group and more.  His stuffed animals are all good friends now and appreciate the differences in each other much better after our little talk.

Still not sure?  Just do a Google search for the "importance of play" and you'll find numerous scientific studies, academic research reports and many many blog posts about just how important play is for children.

Now it's your turn!!  What observations have you made about your children's play recently??

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