Playing and developing is vital for kids. They can learn from a multitude of games and play that will allow them to develop their imagination and also their life skills. In the first two years of their lives, infants learn to know the world and develop mainly through movement and activation of their senses. So, teaching them to play, encouraging learning through games is so important. There are plenty of games available today. You may want to look at Code Kingdoms – Where Kids Learn to Code Minecraft and Roblox.

Photo: Unsplash

Why is it important to play?

The child’s development via play and gaming can be divided into different components throughout the developmental stages:

  1. Sensorimotor development: A Swiss psychologist who worked in developmental psychology, called the first two years of a baby’s life the “sensorimotor period”.  This is vital to develop early on.
  2. Games sharpen the senses, allow the child to explore the world directly and receive information about textures, smells, tastes, sights and sounds. Games develop the coarse muscles and the delicate muscles and allow for motor control.
  3. Cognition: Knowledge of different properties of objects and materials. With games they can differentiate between similar and different and hence also development of skills of sorting and more. They can learn to understand physical laws, problem solving and developing the ability of the imagination.
  4. Emotions: Game allows the child to recreate events they experience but from a place of control. This effectively teaches him about different struggles. Games have a discharge of emotions, and it contributes to the development of emotional understanding.
  5. Social development: The child practices interaction with the other, negotiates, compromises, waits in line and even understands victory and loss. This happens when they play games; they learn how to interact and communicate better. 

So how can you use play to assist your child?

We play with our children from the first weeks of life, by silly voices, using toys and more. Eventually games must be adapted to the individual developmental stage of the child.

A joint play of a parent and a child longs for shared enjoyment and strengthens the bond between them. In order to encourage the child’s development, it is important that during the joint play, the parent communicates with the child through the use of words, body gestures and objects in a way that is adapted to the child’s pace and age. There are plenty of developmental games adapted for younger children. It is recommended not to overload them too much as overstimulation can be overwhelming.  So what should you do? It is best to offer the child one toy at a time, and as they grow, keep introducing more and more until they are able to play autonomously and their imagination will blossom further.

It’s important to remember…

  • Television does not always encourage development at a young age. It can be important in some aspects but play should always be encouraged first. Televisions can be watched in moderation but this won’t help them with their growth. 
  • Safety: Games with a standard mark that do not contain small, disassembled parts that the child may put in their mouth and choke. Therefore, always be aware of what may or may not work for your child. Do they have any special needs? In this case, be extra careful with what you purchase.
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Vicky Charles

Vicky is a single mother, writer and card reader.


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