I’m sure if we all think back to our childhood we have fond memories of neighborhood games, adventures with our friends, and playtime with our parents, but what exactly were the benefits of play and how do we go about enriching lives through play?
How can playtime help children empathize with others?
There are 6 ways you can go about enriching lives through play so it carries into adulthood.
When children are young, they have a lot of energy that needs to be burnt off.
By incorporating games that promote physical well being, children gain healthy eating and sleeping habits as well as improving their overall balance and motor skills. This is one of the most important ways you can master enriching lives through play.
In a study done by researchers at the University of Colorado and Maryland, they found that playtime outside reduces stress in children and gives them time to escape for a little bit. The Cleveland Clinic also urges parents to allow their kids outside playtime to increase their vitamin D levels.
By playing with others, children learn how to express and cope with their emotions in a healthy way.
They can start understanding how to express empathy while simultaneously building confidence and self-perception.
After analyzing 46 studies looking at children’s play, psychologist Edward Fisher found that playing enhances the social, emotional, and language stability in children from 33% – 67%.
We all know the importance of teamwork and social cues as adults, it is just as important to teach children these skills through play.
In fact, by playing together, children learn how to negotiate group dynamics, collaborate and compromise, solve conflict, and respond to the emotions of others.
Incorporating aspects of self-directed play such as brain teasers or puzzles in a routine will help children learn how to plan and work on things from beginning to end.
It increases the ability to focus on a project and sharpen attention spans.
Psychologist Donald Hebb conducted a study in 1949 using rats to research brain development. He used two environments. One being enriched with toys and the other being an impoverished environment.
At the end of the study the rats with the enriched environment had more active brains in the areas that controlled learning and memory.
Being able to think outside the box and look at solutions from different angles is important in life as well as the work environment. Those who incorporate pretend play into their routine increase self-regulation in their child’s development.
That’s exactly what the power of play does. It helps children solve complex problems creatively and in a way that carries on into adulthood and you can rest easy, knowing that you’re enriching lives through play.
At Simplay3, the In & Out Activity Table does exactly that.
It allows for children to play freely and create both indoors and out allowing for them to be themselves!
By children playing together they learn how to understand social cues and read body language from their playmates. This allows them to learn how to start conversations and keep it going.
If a problem arises along the way, children learn how to use their words and work through conflict among their peers.
A way to increase communication ability is to incorporate word based games that allow children to grow their vocabulary and the ability to navigate through life.
Ways to Incorporate
Since working with others is such a valuable part of growing up, strengthens our ability to communicate, and enriches lives through play, here are some activities for children (and adults) to take part in!
- Homemade Playdough (2+)
- In a group, kids can make playdough to help develop their creativity and build small worlds or objects. This is a fun activity for kids to learn together.
- Housework Hustle (2+)
- Of course, after all this fun it needs to be cleaned up. However, cleaning up doesn’t have to be “boring.” Put on a fun tune and dance around while cleaning. It will make the time seem like it is going faster, create a more active way of cleaning, and teach the youngins the importance of cleaning up after themselves!
- Bottle Bowling (2+)
- An activity that can be set up inside or outside. This would be perfect for barbecues or family get togethers! Set up some plastic pop bottles and create a bowling activity that’s fun for the whole family.
- Indoor Baseball (3+)
- Grab an empty gift wrap tube and an air-filled balloon. You can designate bases around the house and away you go! This is a great activity for children to learn teamwork and communication skills. It’s also perfect for kids to work off energy on a rainy day!
- Crafty Cards (3+)
- Gather old magazines/newspapers and repurpose them to create homemade cards for others on construction paper.
- Build a Fort (4+)
- Gather pillows and blankets to create an imaginary world or maze for endless hours of fun and imagination!
- Kickball (6+)
- Gather the neighborhood or a small group of friends for this summertime classic
- Capture the flag (7+)
- Set up a small course where your children and some neighborhood friends can use their communication and teamwork skills to capture the flag. This activity is sure to leave long lasting memories!
Let your child’s imagination run wild! Playtime is meant to enrich lives and create memories that can be passed down from generation to generation!
Shaye Sicurella is a recent grad from the University of Akron where she graduated with a B.A. in Media Studies and Public Relations.
She is very family oriented having grown up as an only child with close cousins who are like her siblings. She loves being able to help children’s minds grow which is why she loves to be a part of the Simplay3 company in Twinsburg, OH.
In her free time, she loves to come up with new recipes, spend time with her friends, travel to new restaurants with her family, raise money for the Battered Women’s Shelter with an annual concert, and take care of her pet ferret!