Why children need to play – 5 benefits to boost mental and physical health
Playing is essential to development. While the toys used and the games played shift and change to fit the age they exist in, the practice of playing itself has always been important to the growth of a child’s mind. In recent years the science behind play shows a range of benefits as we discover the extent toys and games can influence a child’s early development. This allows us to create better toys and encourage positive playing.
1. Playing encourages children to learn about the world.
Playing helps a child to explore their surroundings and satisfy their curiosity. In these early stages of life, children are discovering the world around them, and constantly testing boundaries. Play allows children to discover and explore the world safely. Through games and open-ended play, they get to familiarise themselves with social rules, and situations, without being exposed to any real-life threats.
2. It develops and strengthens relationships.
The ability to learn to entertain themselves is a crucial step in a child’s journey, by playing with parents, siblings, or other children, they learn crucial survival and behavioural skills, such as:
Cooperation and compromise – playing with others allow children to learn about fairness, balance, and compromise. This makes a game that is enjoyable for both parties. It teaches essential communication skills and tells other people they play with playing know how to handle them what they need, and what they like.
Healthy emotional attachment - playing is the main way through which a child will develop relationships with their peers outside of their immediate family circle. In time, childhood playmates grow into an emotional safety net that will provide the child with reassurance and support. Life is about making new relationships and learning how to communicate with new people.
Navigating conflict - as any parent knows, no children’s game will be without its share of little arguments or tantrums, and while some parents may wish to shield their little ones, this is a huge benefit for the child’s development. Conflict during a play session prepares the child for later in life, when he will come across social problems and will need to handle them, to maintain relationships.
3. Through games and play, children discover new areas of interest.
It’s important to also recognise that playing allows children to explore new subjects, and areas of interest, these makeup passions and may even pave the way to a future career.
Geomagworld’s range of STEM-based toys aims to expose the developing mind to a range of science, technology, engineering, and math skills that will help a child learn. In these critical categories. Geomag’s hands-on toys provide the child with a first dive into the fascinating world of science and technology and activate certain parts of the brain including problem-solving, logic, and critical thinking, that will later prove vital.
These kinds of toys also stimulate a child’s imagination and creativity. Invisible structures, which are quite popular in STEM-based toy lines, ask a child to see more where there isn’t, and to mentally fill in the blanks left by the toys themselves.
4. Play offers positive reinforcement and boosts confidence.
When a child doesn’t know how to handle a situation, they will retreat inward, and won’t be able to assert their needs or interact with others. Playing teaches a child resilience, and confidence because during any play session, a child will come across various micro-situations that will activate their problem-solving skills and assertiveness.
5. Play releases energy.
Play and games allow children to expend energy and improve their motor skills. Naturally, this also leads to a better, more satisfying sleep schedule, maintaining a healthy weight, and strong, well-developed bones and muscles.
A child with pent-up energy risks becoming anxious and restless. In turn, this can show up as aggressiveness or social anxiety, which can be detrimental in the long run. For small children, play is as much a physical need, as it is an emotional and mental one. Children who have limited playtimes may experience development problems, including physical and mental health issues. By enjoying playtime, the positive rewards both mentally and physically can have long-lasting effects.
For more information on the benefits of play visit Geomagworld.com