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The Importance Of Childhood Play
by Stephen A. Peterson 
05/15/12
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The Importance Of Childhood Play
© 2012

by

Stephen A. Peterson


Play is the young child’s major occupation. Through a child’s play he or she develops physically, mentally, morally and socially. No only does a child’s body become stronger with increased coordination but their play steadily improves their well being overall. Children who are active participants in play have been found to be happier, sleep and eat better, have fewer emotional problems and interact more successfully with their peers.

With the availability of reasonably cost computers, childhood play has changed. Child developmentalists now differentiate between “movement play” and “sedentary play”. Movement play involves the physical use of childrens’ bodies that seem to enhance the fine motor, gross motor, language, independent living, social and reasoning skills or what is often referred to as “whole body development”. Sedentary play generally involves and improves eye-hand coordination, fine motor, some language and occasional social skills development. Whole body development is lacking. Due to the lacking of whole body movement researchers find more overweight/obese children. Also with the lack of movement adverse health that translates into an unhealthy life as well as higher health cost during the adult years.

Through play a child’s imagination is stimulated so too is their memory and reasoning abilities. Play helps childrens’ mental alertness. That, in turns, helps them meet many of the problems they will face in life. More often than not children learn from play just about everyday about practical situations than they learn from a classroom.

Being able to get along with people is an absolute necessity in an ever-shrinking world. Thee is no better place where a child may learn how to get along with others than through play. A child’s contacts, even throughout the school years, are so limited and regulated by rules and regulations that a child did not make nor understands. Only through play will a child learn her or his social skills.

Language development, independent living skills, decision making skills, building her/his character cannot take place in the classroom as well as it can on the playground or play independent of a school structure. As long as a child’s child is under the directions of adults to tell her/him the what, when and how things are to be done, that child will never learn to stand on their own feet and make her/his own decisions. A child learns such skills more in play with those her/his own age. Her/his peer group will let the child know what is or is not acceptable behavior. If a child wants have friends, fun, do things and be popular, he/she must learn the give and take of her/his peer group and behave as their peers expect of her/him.


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