Why Play Is A Serious Business
Why do we play?
What is play? Play is fun! Play is children laughing, exploring, wrestling, jumping and acting. It is instinctive and primal - and completely without structure. It is improvisation, problem solving, storytelling, and listening. Some even say that it is the essence of freedom.
Play is inherently limitless
Through play, a child can be whatever and whoever she wants. An amazing world where turning into a superhero, a dinosaur, a cat, a fireman, a mountain climber, an artist, a bird or an astronaut, happens in the blink of an eye.
And the best part of play? There are no rights or wrongs to it.
But why do we play?
"Nothing lights up the brain like play does!", states Dr Stuart Brown, founder and leader of The National Institute of Play in California, US. He continues: "Three-dimensional play fires up the Cerebellum, put impulses in the frontal lobe, helps contextual memory to be developed, and and and!”
"Three-dimensional play fires up the Cerebellum, put impulses in the frontal lobe, helps contextual memory to be developed, and and and!" - DR. STUART BROWN
Play happens on impulse. It is instinctive human behaviour, simply nature’s way of teaching. Recent research shows that play plays a much bigger role in a child's life than previously assumed. According to Fraser Brown, Professor at the Leeds Beckett University, play is essential for proper brain development with children, and can potentially scar children for life. At its extreme, play deprivation causes bad risk assessments, poor gross and fine motor skills, a fear and avoidance of other people, bad social assessments and even self-harm. There is no doubt about it; play really is a necessity. Through play, we transform, connect, experiment, conclude, develop and last but not least; grow.
One of the biggest and most important outcomes of play is that it secures emotional attachments in a child's life. Play helps children to trust and to empathise, thus enabling children to form relationships and friendships with other people. It improves children’s ability to cope with anxiety and stress and helps children to overcome problems or issues in their life.
Now go and play
Play is not only social, it is also physical. There is a clear connection between having played, worked, and used your hands while growing up, and being a good problem solver through someone's adult life. Kids learn how to hug, fall, twist and twirl. When to be gentle, and when to use force. How to tickle, and more importantly when to stop.
There can be no doubt that play really is a serious issue. It is about giving your children the tools to be able to cope better later in life, having healthy relationships, a healthy mind and a healthy body. And the best part of this process? It is fun, easy, autonomous, healthy and wonderful. All you as a parent need to do is to facilitate the play - and join the fun!