These days, our children spend less time playing. It has to be said that they have a busy schedule and their day-to-day lives are meticulous! Between school, homework and extra-curricular activities, our little ministers sometimes run out of time to build a spaceship out of toilet rolls or organise a fashion show in the living room.
But what if they’re missing out on much more than a few laughs and a bit of exercise? What if playing was as important as sleeping or eating? Babaoo Mag has the facts for you! 💡
Often considered an anecdotal activity, playing is nevertheless of vital importance in your child’s development.
As well as providing moments of joy, pleasure and fun, numerous studies have established a clear correlation between playing and the acquisition of key skills that enable us to cope well with life’s challenges. 💪
Whether in animals or humans, recent scientific advances have shown that playing has a significant impact on brain development, and more specifically on the prefrontal cortex, a brain area notably involved in the development of empathy, emotion management, inhibitory control and social adaptation.
By playing with friends, your child learns to perceive other people’s emotions and understand their point of view. Without realising it, they are developing invaluable interpersonal skills that will be essential for their future adult life.
Climbing trees, playing hide-and-seek, dressing up or laughing over a board game… 🎲 As well as being fun and recreational, these different ways of playing are all opportunities to boost your child’s motor, cerebral and emotional development.
By playing, they can :
Not so anecdotal, is it? 🧠
Over the last thirty years or so, outdoor play has gone from strength to strength. Today, children in the UK spend half as much time outdoors as their parents did at the same age. Even more worryingly, in the United States, children spend less than 10 minutes a day outdoors, compared with more than 7 hours in front of a screen… And technology has a lot to do with it.
If playing is good for you, playing outside is even better! Outdoors, your little adventurer can run, jump, climb… and moving is good for your health! Not to mention the benefits of sunlight and vitamin D.
But above all, playing outdoors means connecting with nature and discovering an environment that encourages imagination and creativity. Hello treasure hunts, imaginary scenarios and crazy epics for supercharged cognitive development!
✏ Baba’Tips: You don’t need the latest gadgets to have fun! A Frisbee, a few branches or a box of chalk. For the rest, let their imagination work… and prepare to be amazed!
In the classroom too, play can change everything. Teaching methods have evolved a great deal, giving more and more room to playful activities and manipulatives to stimulate children’s interest, motivation and curiosity, while at the same time helping them to learn their lessons.
For example, some teachers use the Alphas method to teach their pupils to read and write. Alphas are imaginary characters, each representing a basic sound in the French language. Through stories, role-playing and songs, children learn to recognise these characters and associate the sounds with the corresponding letters.
Today’s curricula recommend that new concepts should be introduced through hands-on experience. For example, children will manipulate geometric solids (in 3D) with their hands before encountering the abstract concept of geometric shape (in 2D). Montessori, Freinet and other active teaching methods make much of these new practices, which encourage children to engage their senses, actively manipulate elements and build their understanding through concrete, interactive experiences.
Much more than just entertainment, playing is essential to your child’s well-being. Playing means inventing, creating, exploring, communicating, expressing and sharing. Every moment spent playing is an opportunity to learn, grow and develop the skills needed to tame the adult world.
At home or at school, alone or with friends, at the console (a little) or in the garden (a lot)… the most important thing is to play! And even when boredom creeps in, the mind wakes up and ideas fly, pushing back the boundaries of creativity to bring to life the most brilliant of games: the one we’ve just invented! 💡