As it turns out, there is more to play than kids just having a good time. Research has shown that children who are regularly active in play develop well on many levels including physical, emotional, mental and social.
All types of play, from fantasy to rough-and-tumble, have a crucial role in children’s development. Play is the looking glass through which children experience their world, and the world of others. If deprived of play, children may suffer both in the present and in the long-term. With supportive adults, adequate play space, and an assortment of play materials, children stand the best chance of becoming healthy, happy, productive members of society.
Psychiatrist Stuart Brown writes that play is ‘the basis of all art, games, books, sports, movies, fashion, fun, and wonder – in short, the basis of what we think of as civilization.’ (Brown 2009).
What are the benefits of play in a child’s life?
A child who has been allowed to play develops a universal learning skill. Play maximises their potential by developing creativity and imagination. Play promotes joy, which is essential for self-esteem and health. The learning process is self-sustained based as it is on a natural love of learning and playful engagement with life.
Emotional-behavioural benefits of play
Play reduces fear, anxiety, stress, irritability
Creates joy, intimacy, self-esteem and mastery not based on other’s loss of esteem
Improves emotional flexibility and openness
Increases calmness, resilience and adaptability and ability to deal with surprise and change
Play can heal emotional pain.
Social benefits of play
Increases empathy, compassion, and sharing
Creates options and choices
Models relationships based on inclusion rather than exclusion
Improves nonverbal skills
Increases attention and attachment
Positive emotions increase the efficiency of immune, endocrine, and cardiovascular systems
Decreases stress, fatigue, injury, and depression
Increases range of motion, agility, coordination, balance, flexibility, and fine and gross motor exploration
The role of toys in play
In addition to being purpose-built for children’s play, toys invite play and prolong play. Children will play longer when suitable play objects are available, and stand to gain the greatest benefits that play has to offer. The availability of toys in infancy is related to the child’s IQ at three years of age. Children with access to a variety of toys were found to reach higher levels of intellectual achievement, regardless of the children’s sex, race, or social class (Bradley 1985, Elardo 1975).
Tumble Tots range of soft play equipment encourages kids to be creative, use their imagination and get involved in exploratory play. Kids will create their own adventures from crawling through tunnels to working out how stack a tower high as the sky!
You can see more of our range of soft play equipment here; http://www.tumbletotspartyhire.com.au/soft-play