Importance of Play and Development skills for children

Due to the pandemic situation, the government implemented complete lockdown. Schools,colleges and offices were completely locked-down. We were all worried due to its outbreak.Everyone was concerned about their families, taking proper care and following social distancing.Everyone was adhering the rules of lock-down. Children were delighted initially, as they got anextended vacation, now they will not have to wake up early in the morning and get up for school,or they will not have to do their homeworks on a daily basis, from now it will be Sunday everyday.

However, their happiness was short-lived. Now I think they miss their schools and colleges where they met their friends and played around. However, we saw that children in my colony gottogether to play football, younger children were running around and playing on swings whilesome children were cycling. It was very delightful to see them playing in the ground.Playing is important for children of all ages. The child starts learning from the day they are born.

From 0 to 18 years, this is the age where the child is in a continuous process of learning andfrom 0-8 years are considered as the foundation years of children. They are very crucial for theirdevelopment.

Playing helps in overall skill development of the child. Have you ever observed that one day yourchild is playing with the blocks, and he is dependent on you to play with him, while the next timethey are seeing them they have lots of friends, and they are playing in the ground. Well to explainthis, let me take you through the six different stages of the play techniques wherein a child learnsnew skills and techniques. They are as follows:

Unoccupied Play (babies)

This is the first stage of the play, where the child is not playing withanyone, but he merely observes the surroundings. Like birds flying in the sky or the garden. This helps the imagination and creative skills of the child. Independent Play (Toddlers) is the play where the child likes to play alone without anyone,here the child learns to be self supported and self- sufficient.

Onlooker Play (Toddlers 2-3 years)

This is the play where the child simply observes the way theother child is playing. This helps when the child is shy, and he is not ready to get mixed up.

Parallel Play (2.5-4years)

This is a play when two or three kids are playing adjacent, but they are not influenced by another’s behaviour, however the child is interested in what the other child is doing.It helps them to work along with each other and it improves their observation skills.

Associative Play (3-4 years)

This is slightly different to the parallel play, but here the group of children is participating or engaging in similar activities. For example, they are playing with blocks, however there is no goal or leader. They play on their own. This is the period where they developbonding with the other child.

Cooperative Play (mostly 5-10 years)

This is a phase where all the above plays are involved and
children actually start to play together as a team. The rules are loosely set and the children focus to achieve a common goal. Here the child may learn to socialise and the concept of sharing. Now we see why plays are crucial. They help them to develop overall skills like cognitive skills which helps them to think, remember and be creative. It is the core skills of the brain.

Developing gross motor skills where the child uses the involvement of the hands, legs etc to catch the ball, run and jump and skip. It uses the larger muscles. Fine motor skills involve use ofsmall muscles like picking up and grasping small objects, writing etc. Social and Emotional skills where they learn to control their emotions and behaviour, maintain positive relationships etc.

Speech and Language skills where a child develops the use of words and gestures, focuses on communication etc.

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