For children, play is a tool that they use to get to know their surroundings, and it is how they fulfill both their social and cognitive needs. This is why introducing play into early childhood development is a must. It improves on several key aspects of development, like the language skills, imagination and social competence. And when you have twins or multiples, it can be used to trigger another important aspect of development, and that is learning to share.
While there is no single definition of play, we can still have a loose classification based on its characteristics. So for example, pleasurable-play can be classified as an enjoyable and pleasurable activity while voluntary-play is chosen freely and active-play includes some type of action, it can be physical, verbal or mental.
So as you can see play in early childhood has many aspects, and in this article we will explore the importance of including it in your children’s development process very early on.
The vital effect of play on cognitive development
Through play young children are learning how to explore, identify or even negotiate and take risks. It helps them create meaning. In the scientific circles both the intellectual and the cognitive benefits of playing have been well documented. Active play helps kids improve their memory skills, it aids in language development and can serve as a great behavior regulator, preparing them for school and academic learning.
It is important that we as parents find pre-school educational programs that support play, so that the cognitive development of our children continues outside the home. So opting for trusted early childhood centers such as the renowned Young Explorers ELC helps parents provide their kids with an environment that is both caring and nurturing while at the same time being carefully constructed with the goal of stimulating the young learners with engaging activities.
The role of play in the language skill development
There are several ways children develop language skills through play, especially at the very young age. First of all they listen to their parents talk, second, your children watch your mouth as you talk, starting as infants. They then file these movements away for later use. They do the same with facial expressions and body language. Next comes the imitation phase, this is where play is the most important, so clapping, waving and moving are actually pre-language skills which you can introduce through play. Finally when the first words are uttered comes the repetition – songs and guessing games are ideal for language skill improvement. It is just important that you keep pushing the limits little by little. For example, ‘What is this?’, and point to an object. You child will respond with just one word ‘ car’, Then you can add, ‘Yes, It’s a big car’, having them repeat ‘big car’. This is how language skills are developed, without putting any pressure on your child and turning every exercise into a fun game.
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What makes play vital for social skill development
We use social skills every day to both interact and communicate with others. Both the verbal and the non-verbal communication are included, so speech, gesture, facial expression and body language. What makes play so important is that it facilitates the development of social skills in kids. Whether it’s interacting over a certain toy, learning how to give and share or even accepting the fact that they might not win every time and learning how to handle it.
Even at the very early age, and the first play dates, social skills matter, but it is also important how children perceive their parent’s social skills, because that perception is what will give them the basis for forming their own.
Finally it is important to acknowledge that every child is different, and their development process has its own pace. Even if you are a parent of identical twins, it does not mean that they will have the same knowledge acquisition process. So the best options to observe your child, and follow their tempo. Do not try to push then nor to slow them down, even as infants they know what suits the most. Make sure you provide them with a play rich environment that will stimulate their senses and help them develop all the skills necessary for the academic success that is yet to come.
About the author
Claire is a personal and professional development expert who believes that a positive attitude is one of the keys to success. You can find her online writing and giving tips about lifestyle and development as a regular contributor at highstylife.com. You can also follow her on Facebook and Twitter.