When are you happiest or livelier? When are you most relaxed and able to express yourself in the best way possible? There’s a high chance that one of your first answers is when you’re “playing”. Yes, you read it correctly, playing! Play is different for everyone. It is what you make of it. But there are unique characteristics to all forms of play- it is the fastest, easiest and most practical way to build and develop life skills-skills needed to succeed in everyday life, skills that can’t be developed in the classroom. Secondly, while playing, almost all your senses are involved and thus the simultaneous development of multiple domains(cognitive, language and literacy, communication, physical, social and emotional) is made possible through play.
Think about play as a hobby, what you enjoy doing at your free time to relax. So, play could include but not limited to sports, reading, baking, cooking, gardening, hanging out with friends, bowling, hiking, running, swimming, seeing a movie, listening to music and so on.
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Play is not only children’s hobby but it is their work. It is the way through which they explore their environment, grow, learn and develop. It is also through play children express themselves and communicate with their peers and adults. And one form of play is games-indoor and outdoor games.
Games are an interesting fun way to teach life skills but also great for developing the different domains mentioned above. They can help a parent or care giver identify deficiencies in certain learning areas, then plan to intervene early-they provide uncountable opportunities for teaching skills you want in your children. Games provide an enjoyable opportunity for bonding with friends and family thus helps in developing social, emotional and communication skills.
Other skills that children can develop while playing games includes critical thinking, problem solving, concentration, language(e.g vocabularies), delayed gratification and lots more.
Games can be used in different settings- home, classroom, party etc. In picking out games for different settings, some factors to consider includes age of the children, purpose/aim- that is what you want to achieve with the games.
Also see: Play and Covid-19
Because games are fun and doesn’t usually appear to be “work”, both children and adults embrace it easily. Both parents and educators can find games as useful tools to teach important skills and concepts. For example, the Monopoly can be used by an Economics teacher to teach different concept in Economics.
You too can enjoy the numerous benefits of playing games. So, switch off the TV, the computer and phones, and draw a game out to enjoy with your family and friends or with your students.
Take Away Play From Children, Take Away Learning and Growth.