Play helps kids learn, become more creative, able, independent and confident and ready for ‘real’ life in many different ways. Yet today’s children, face the dangers of a ‘Play Deficit’ where modern lifestyle deprives children of free and unstructured, imaginative play.
This negatively impacts not just development and growth but also stunts development of social and intellectual skills that will help them to succeed later in life. So how can parents help their kids play more?
- Unplug the toys – rather than the X boxes, TV and other electronics, let kids play with old fashioned things like Lego, blocks, pretend kitchens and tea sets, dress up and so on.
- Make sure that play time is unstructured and lets children use their imagination. Rather than toys which are part of movie and TV merchandise, get toys that children can play with and build stories around using their own imagination.
- Make sure that there is sufficient free time for play; if required cut out a class or two.
- Make it safe but as far as possible let it be free from adult supervision.
- Take trips to the park.
- Make the backyard play friendly.
- Advocate recess time in schools.
- Play with your child; have fun!