How to Encourage Beneficial Play

Children, teenagers, and adults all have one thing in common. They need recreation. As we get older, the way we play and entertain ourselves changes. While many people still play games well into adulthood to relax, play is an especially important part of childhood development.

Any kind of play is both fun and educational for children, but you can further their development by helping them play in more beneficial ways. Here are some tips to help your child to get the most out of their fun.

Varied Play

There are many different types of play, and each one can affect your child in a different way. The way that your child plays also teaches you more about their personality and interests. Even from an incredibly young age, you will notice that your child might prefer certain activities and toys over others. This can indicate certain skills or interests that they are more likely to enjoy and grow into.

For example, playing by themselves can teach your child how to entertain themselves and certain toys can improve your child’s cognitive skills and physical development. Even a toddler rolling a ball around is learning how to move in a different way.

As your child plays with adults and other children, they will also develop socially and emotionally. As an adult, you can guide their play, but you can also teach them different skills. However, children benefit greatly from being able to play with their peers as they practice how to work with others and how to manage their emotions. 

Activities like drawing and painting are fantastic for children, as they develop more fine motor control and can develop a creative imagination. They also learn how to concentrate on a task and can enjoy the satisfaction of a job well done. 

If you provide your child with plenty of options of things to play with and encourage them to try new things, then you can ensure a well-rounded early education in childhood. If your child does gravitate towards one toy or style of play, then you should still provide other options, but foster their growing interests as well. The trick is balance.

Construction and Creativity

As your child grows older, they will become more capable with their toys. This allows you to introduce more complex toys, such as LEGO sets and similar types of toys that encourage creativity and larger projects.

Sets like this allow children to play in different ways while developing their spacial awareness and fine motor skills. For example, they can follow the instructions on the set, which teaches them the benefits of reading and following directions, as well as providing a satisfying sense of achievement when they’ve successfully completed the build.

Alternatively, your child might prefer to be more creative and use the lego to create whatever comes to their mind. Rather than discouraging this kind of play, just see what your child creates and let them have fun their way. This helps them to develop a more creative way of thinking and they still get the benefits of learning about how to build a solid structure and basic engineering and construction principles.

Physical Play

A lot of children prefer to play physically, either by playing games or going into sports. This is something that you should encourage every child to get involved in, as physical activity will keep them fit and healthy.

Not only that, but some games teach children important life skills. For example, team games teach children how to work together in a team and can help them to develop social skills as they learn how to cooperate and get along with others.

Video Games and Screentime

In recent years, many children have fallen in love with video games and spending time behind screens. Most parents, understandably, try to control the amount of time that children spend on this kind of play. 

However, if properly supervised, video games can be beneficial to children. Some games are educational and improve literacy and numeracy skills, or teach them about history or other important lessons while they’re having fun.

Other games improve fine motor skills and reaction times or teach children how to manage scenarios and work with other people. Pay attention to the games your child plays and how much time they spend playing them, but you don’t have to ban them entirely. 

As with everything else, balance is always the key to making sure that your child grows into a well-rounded adult.

Photo by Kevin Jarrett on Unsplash

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Joel Manzer
Husband to an Amazing Wife, and Father of a Child with Autism. Founding Lead Editor of this site called Autisable. Click here to join Autisable!
Joel Manzer

Joel Manzer

Husband to an Amazing Wife, and Father of a Child with Autism. Founding Lead Editor of this site called Autisable. Click here to join Autisable!

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