Besides it being fun, play is an essential part of a child’s development. Play helps your kids develop their cognitive, creative, and problem-solving abilities in a safe and secure environment.
Facilitating playtime at home also gives them a sense of belonging that’s formative in their younger years. Every child begins life with a specific set of characteristics, abilities, and talents.
These characteristics can be honed through playtime—molding them into becoming happy and healthy adults later in life.
Here are four types of play to encourage at home.
1) Games with Rules
A game with rules is a form of play that is linked to following a set of regulations, usually logical and orderly, that must be obeyed by all participants.
Following a set of rules aids toddlers in learning about cooperation and fairness, as they must follow specific procedures to avoid penalties or punishment. Exposure to this type of play also allows kids to practice self-regulation, which helps them cope with defeat and mature emotionally.
This type of play also introduces vital social concepts to children, namely the distinction between cooperation and competition. Cooperation happens when all players are working towards a common goal, while competition pits players against each other.
In distinguishing these two concepts, players can come to an objective way of reaching the game’s goals. Games with rules can also become progressively more complex, allowing for more strategies to be introduced and more alternative pathways to victory to be explored.
Strategy, creativity and discipline are three of the most valuable lessons kids can learn from gaming with rules.
Examples of games with rules include the following:
- Musical Chairs
- Chess and Checkers
- Duck Duck Goose
2) Dramatic Play
Dramatic play is a form of play that involves the use of imagination and creativity, usually in the form of role-playing.
It allows children to explore different aspects of their personalities while pretending to be someone or something else.
Some dramatic play ideas in action are when your child pretends to be a doctor with a set of replica doctor tools and examines their toy dolls, or when they pretend to drive a car with their kid-sized toy vehicle.
Dramatic play is often used in conjunction with objects that represent different things, such as a doctor’s office with a desk and chair, a cash register for pretend transactions, or a kitchen set for cooking up imaginary meals.
This type of play is beneficial for children as it allows them to recognize the utility and symbolism of everyday objects during play. The ability to associate objects with other objects is crucial for cognitive development, specifically for language learning.
A Waldorf Playstand is a great piece for encouraging dramatic play. The playstand can be used for many different things from a doctor’s office to a coffee shop. They provide storage and versatility that other wood play furniture can’t come close to.
Another great way to incorporate dramatic play is by providing a playhouse for your child. A playhouse can offer many benefits for your child’s dramatic play.
One benefit of a playhouse is that it can help your child develop social skills. When children play together in a playhouse, they have to communicate and cooperate. This can help them learn how to share, take turns and resolve conflicts. It’s also an excellent way for them to make new friends.
Your child will have the best playhouse memories if you get one best suited for their age group. For example, if you have a toddler, look for a playhouse with big windows and doors so they can see and explore the world around them. On the other hand, a playhouse with a slide or climbing wall would be more appropriate for older kids.
3) Functional Play
Functional play helps children learn about their physical environment and the laws that govern it. It’s dubbed the “first form” of play in children and infants, as it usually occurs before more imaginative forms of play take place.
In functional play, children use their senses to explore their surroundings and test how the things they come in contact with work. This could be anything from putting objects in and taking them out of containers, to shaking a tree branch to see how the leaves fall. Playing on a pikler triangle or a wooden arch is also great for functional play.
Functional play is a physical experience that engages the senses of the child. It also allows them to learn about their capabilities and limitations.
The benefits of functional play can be observed in how children start to develop an understanding of gravity, cause and effect, and simple physics principles.
Aside from improving their fine motor skills, this form of play can also improve their social-emotional skills, as something as simple as rolling a ball can help them learn about turn-taking and sharing.
4) Constructive Play
Constructive play is a form of play that allows children to build and create things through their own imagination. It usually involves using blocks, legos, or any other type of material that can be assembled in different ways.
Whether it’s shaping clay into a pot, assembling blocks to form a tower, or drawing a picture with crayons, constructive play lets children use their imagination and planning skills to accomplish a certain goal.
Unlike functional play, the constructive type of play has an end goal in mind, whether it be a colorful artwork or a three-story tower. This encourages thoughtfulness and planning, as children need to figure out how they can create what they want using the materials available to them. The Lovevery block set is the perfect block set for constructive play with its vibrant colors and useful shapes. Plus it comes in a wooden box for easy and attractive storage. A definite must-have.
While we’ve covered the most popular types of play, this article has only scratched the surface of the forms of play that you can introduce to your child.
From onlooker play to independent play, there are still many ways you can impart different skills and knowledge to your child through playing with them.
Regardless, as parents, you should strive to provide more play opportunities for your children both inside and outside the home.
This way, you can help them grow into well-rounded adults in the future.