10 Benefits of Play in Early Childhood Development

Let us explore how play in early childhood development years can be an extraordinary tool; Image credit: Pexels
Let us explore how play in early childhood development years can be an extraordinary tool; Image credit: Pexels
Ratan Kumar Sarkar
Written by Ratan Kumar Sarkar

Can you think about a child who does not want to play in early childhood? If the answer is yes, it is astonishing as well as abnormal. Play is natural, and so many exquisite instances of play are visible. The movement of branches of a tree in the breeze or little waves in the river seems to play. 

For all children, play is universal. All children intended to participate in games and play regardless of race, religion, or caste. Play in early childhood is a collection of activities children perform in which they willingly conceive and accept with joy and interest. From birth, children are concerned with playing; through play, children get to know themselves and the world around them. Children also relieve their liveliness and energy through playing.

Play is a crucial and alluring part of childhood. A child’s psychosocial development and overall holistic development are very much intertwined. Children can keep themselves happy and forget their sadness, pain, and grief through play. The significance of play in a child’s early development is immense. We can use play as a treatment to help children control their negative behaviour and manage emotions, such as sadness and anxiety. 

Play contributes to building personality; simultaneously, it reveals a person’s character. If we do not recognize a person’s internal character and behaviour while spending a long time with him with different events, it can be focused even through one hour of play.

Developmental Domains and Play in Early Childhood

The play develops children’s skills based on their age. It accomplishes an essential role in ensuring the different domains of development. Play promotes children’s cognitive, physical, linguistic, and social-emotional development. 

Apart from their age of maturity, the changes in the skills and capabilities of a child depend on their surroundings, family, financial and social status, their care and security, and the interactions of adults with the children. Having all these in reality, play influences growth and development, getting in touch with all these contexts. Still not convincing? 

The Scientific Ground of Play

Let us explore how play in early childhood development years can be an extraordinary tool to enhance the growth and development of children having its enormous strength with the scientific ground. Several researchers have acknowledged the role of play in growth and development. Play influences physical growth, getting the body movement while playing. Blood circulation all over the body and exercise makes bodily growth. The problem-solving and innovation evolving through play activates the brain and influence cognition. Abiding by the rules relevant to play and compelling with win and loss impact socialization and behaviour control. Self-control and self-esteem are achieved through the process related to play. 

Verbal communication with rendering body language all contributes to communication skills whilst playing. Think about a dramatic play in early childhood development years, like imitating or pretending to cook. Here, an excellent instance of planning and implementation exists. In this play, someone is selling vegetables, rice, or other ingredients of food, and someone is buying all of those. Someone is cutting and washing vegetables and other ingredients and helping the head cook. Someone may serve food, and others are pretending to eat, and all the children involving the events with joy, laughter, and happiness. Getting the event in a step-by-step thinking process seems to be a good parameter for planning and implementing a little project.

So, it’s a proven case scientifically, and no ambiguity about the contribution of play. 

Play and Parents’ Perception

The scientific notion of play in early childhood years is not so well circulated and so a high number of parents worldwide perceive play as a waste of time. They cannot perceive play as a vigorous and effective tool for their children to explore the world around them. The parents may not value the independent time for their children while playing, which can contribute a lot to the child’s personality building, strengthening of imagination power, or expansion of thinking ability. The parents’ conservatory mind, especially in Asia or Africa, compels the children to study, not to play. They consider studying will ensure a bright future for their children, not play.  

Play in Bangladesh Context

The culture of play in early childhood years in Bangladesh as well as in South Asia is more or less similar and quite rich. Especially, rural Bangladesh is exquisitely amusing in different plays regarding age level. Children naturally join in enormous play while the age of toddler to more. Playing with dolls, arranging the marriage of dolls, cooking, and flying kites are some of the very popular plays of toddlers. Having a little grow more, Gollachhut, Dariabanda, Danguli, Kanamasi, Dori laf, Buri Soa, Kith Kith, and Ha-du-du all are Bangladeshi play that is much popular among primary-age children. All these games and play deserve many contributions to building growth and enhancing problem-solving skills, thinking ability, communication, and other skills.   

The Ten Benefits of Play in Early Childhood

Grounding on the above discussion, we can draw the benefits of play in early childhood years in a concise version. These handy points will make it easier for parents and other caregivers to use in daily life. The ten significant benefits of play may be:

  • Helps to resolve mental conflict and brings new ideas in problem-solving: play brings some challenges. While facing a new situation in play, innovation and exploring ideas to overcome the challenge make the children concentrate on the issue that resolves mental conflict.
  • Teaches to be respectful and sympathetic towards own and others’ feelings: winning attitude in the games and play is in-build with the process. Here, abiding by the rules of play and games and honouring the feelings of playmates or competitors is a strong social learning that children can achieve through play.
  • Through proper expression of own emotions and feelings helps develop the skills of self-regulation: play reveals the emotions and opens up the mind to share with playmates. This is why it refreshes the mind and enhances self-regulation.
  • Contributes to accumulating experience and reveals feelings in a positive way: play is a procedure through which children can gather experiences. While having new experiences, sometimes might be challenges also. Through the play procedure, children can acquire knowledge of how to express feelings in a positive way. 
  • Assists in achieving social skills and learning adaptive behaviours in different situations: during the progression of play, children may have to face challenges derived from evolving situations. To carry on the process, they have to adapt and change behaviour as per the situation demands, which are valuable skills.
  • Considered a successful way of managing own behaviours: play offers children the opportunity to think about their behaviour through observing and getting feedback from others. To be positive, they can try to manage their behaviour to make friendships easygoing and acceptable to teammates and others.
  • Develops the ability to know oneself, which helps build self-confidence about own capability: play creates a circumstance where children can internalize themselves and discover their own virtues. Having such new knowledge, their self-confidence rises, reflecting their capacity to overcome challenges and do something.
  • Underwrites interpersonal communication with others and relieves unusual thoughts from the mind: getting the condition to communicate and share with teammates and people around them, play contributes to the communication skills of the children. Children relive from unusual thoughts with this sharing and extension of free favourable surroundings. 
  • Generates fine and gross motor skills: play is the most appropriate setup and arrangement for children where they can exercise their extremities happily, get the spirit to strengthen bodily capacity, and gain fine and gross motor skills.
  • Develops imagination and creative skills: play creates a creative atmosphere wherever children feel free to imagine. The new evolving situation and challenges provoke the children to think in a new and innovative way that propels them to innovation.

For the sake of the comprehensive development of the children, we should be committed to allocating time for the children to play. Having such an opportunity, children will grow up as creative, innovative, curious, and active personalities. 

    Would you please contribute to the list of benefits of play?  

    About the author

    Ratan Kumar Sarkar

    Ratan Kumar Sarkar

    Ratan Kumar Sarkar works as a Program Specialist in the BRAC Institute of Educational Development, BRAC University, Bangladesh.

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