• Sep

The ABCs of play

The ABCs of play
Let’s talk about the muddy, laugh-filled, occasionally ear-piercing world of kids’ play.

Ever wondered why play is as essential as the veggies you might sneak into their pasta sauce? We’re sure you know as well as we do – it’s all about the noggin! Through play, children learn about the world and themselves. They develop language skills, their emotions and creativity, social and intellectual skills. How? Let’s dig a little deeper…

You’re It!

Kids running around playing ‘It’ or ‘tag’ may look like mindless chaos, but their brains are working overtime. Remember the pure joy of “tag, you’re it!”? You were basically in Brain Boot Camp. Playing tag is like doing push-ups for your cerebrum. It helps develop essential cognitive skills like focus, attention, and decision-making. Take that, sudoku!

Learning with Lego

Ah, Lego. The toy that has no doubt produced countless engineers and future architects. And most certainly foot injuries for unobservant parents. Lego isn’t just colourful blocks; it’s a full-on neuron party. When a kid builds a Lego castle, they’re also constructing pathways in their brain for spatial awareness, problem-solving, and creativity.

Pretend play isn’t just for Hollywood hopefuls

You may not have the next Meryl Streep on your hands but pretend play is a Hollywood-worthy script for cognitive and emotional growth. Role-playing exercises the imagination and encourages kids to think about feelings, motives, and actions.

The story of a few good chats

Never underestimate the power of a good natter. Whether it’s toddlers speaking in a language only they understand or school kids gossiping about their favourite cartoon, communication during play develops language skills and enriches vocabulary.

No free play, no peace!

Taking away outdoor play or free play as a punishment is a bad move! Physical play is essential for developing motor skills and hand-eye coordination. Plus, a bit of rough and tumble can help kids understand boundaries and self-control. Considering when and when not to intervene is important – we’re there to support by providing play opportunities. Taking over or forcing the incorporation of our learning objectives is not the name of the game – that should be saved for structured adult-led activities.

Play is pretty much a kiddo’s full-time job—and their brain’s favourite workout. So next time you see them making mud pies or dressing up like pirates, remember: they’re not just playing; they’re building brainpower for a lifetime of learning. It’s not child’s play—it’s child’s work!

Playtime is an essential part of your toolkit, right up there with a first-aid kit, a bottle of squash, and the patience of a saint. It also gives you the chance to learn how to play again, and have lots of fun in doing so. Play: it’s the brainy choice!

By Ivy Steele