Play is the act of engaging in activity for enjoyment and recreation rather than a serious or practical purpose.
Often, children engage in this more and that is why this write-up is focusing on them.
Some parents and adults still remember some forms of play they engaged in while growing up.
Sadly, some of the games have become extinct due to some reasons. Security, safety, isolation and above all, spread of communicable diseases, are some of them.
For instance, the type we are witnessing now, Coronavirus, has reduced the amount of play that children get with peers.
However, parents are to create environments that would ensure that Children could still have fun and develop further during the COVID-19 era.
A 2017 study has identified how play helps children develop, with the different types of games and effect they have treated in the report.
Play could be physical, with objects, symbolic, pretend or games with rules.
Whichever they are, they aid a child in different ways and this is why we often shelf different play toys and games for children of different ages.
1. Physical Play
For children, this type of play includes activities like; jumping, climbing, dancing, skipping, bike riding and ball play, fine-motor practice (e.g. sewing, colouring, cutting, junk modelling and manipulating action toys and construction toys).
Physical play includes what is usually referred to as ‘rough-and-tumble’ (play fighting with friends, siblings or caregivers).
According to the report, this kind of play could lead to development in cognition and academic achievement, social competence and popularity.
Also, it can promote social status and dominance, gender differences, emotional awareness and self-regulation.
Furthermore, exercise may also be related to cognitive performance while fighting can improve social competence.
2. Play With Objects
This type of play is also widely observed in primates.
Interestingly also, it concerns children’s developing explorations of the world and the objects they find within it.
According to the report, this form of play also has interesting and important links to physical play – particularly in fine motor development and pretence when it involves building models of real or imaginary objects and creatures, and imagining a scenario or narrative.
While playing with objects, the child is exploring how objects and materials feel and behave.
Symbolic play emerges in children from around the age of 12 months.
This is when they first begin to intentionally use sounds to convey meaning.
Also this is the period children begin to master a range of ‘symbolic’ systems, including spoken language, various visual media, mark making/writing, number, music and so on.
The report says theoretically, therefore, it might be presumed that this type of play would support their developing technical abilities to express their ideas, feelings and experiences through these various media.
Parents can introduce nursery rhymes which are in visual forms. Interestingly, Most symbols they need to know are often conveyed in these rhymes.
In pretend, children act like a character in a cartoon or a movie.
Pretence is one way of developing children’s reasoning and social skills.
It also improves awareness of others’ minds.
If you had bought a costume for your child, you can ask them to wear it again at this time and pretend to be the character.
By so doing, they could begin to assimilate what the reality is and what it is not.
They can also develop narrative skills and also learn to be creative.
5. Games With Rules
Also within this category are physical games such as chasing games, hide-and-seek, throwing and catching, among others.
This form of game helps children develop social skills, knowledge transmission and also make sense of the world that they live in.
Children also learn how to follow set rules and even attempt to break them to see how they really work.