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Mar 19

Why do kids need to play? It's called healthy development.

Posted by Jo-Lise Finn on Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Kids are under so much pressure today, that time for creative and imaginative play takes a back seat to the day's pressing demands. Appointments, deadlines, finances and job demands dominate the thought processes of parents, while the importance of developing the cognitive skills, social skills, and problem-solving skills in children of all ages is often deemed better left to the schools. But even the schools are reducing play time. Just prior to the 21st century, from 1989 to 1999, free time in kindergarten was reduced almost 30%. Reports suggest  that TV cuts down on kids' time for creative play. Kids are playing less at home and at school. Lack of creative play can hinder child development. Parents who want the best for their children must allow time for kids to play.


Play is one of the earliest interactions that children have with the world. Even in early infanthood, curiosity and imagination lead to object manipulation, cause and effect responses, and development of dexterity and physical strength. Babies learn how to control their surroundings. Toddlers begin to emulate adults in creative play, and can use it to conquer fears, develop emotional security, and learn new competencies. Preschoolers and young children learn how to interact with others, and can develop their emotional maturity, linguistic skills and social skills.

Primary school aged children continue to develop cognitive, emotional and social development skills through play. In young school aged children, free play encourages decision making skills, leadership skills, and also serves to help young children identify their own areas of interest. Through this, kids receive inner suggestions of their likes and dislikes. With time, children more clearly identify their preferences and can passionately follow and develop their talents and interests.

Mums engaging in play with babies or young kids can get a refreshing look at the world through a younger person's eyes. However, it is important for mum to remember that kids' free and self-directed play help children come to terms with self-confidence, manipulation skills, negotiating skills, and decision making skills. It nurtures creativity and imagination to levels that help kids deal with complex situations and problems which later contributes to forming problem-solving skills. Children's playtime is more than play. It's kid's work for healthy child development.

Too often, today's world suffocates the creative and imaginative potential available for the free play that is a significant contributor to healthy child development. TVs need to be shut off. Neighborhoods need to be safer. Time has to stop to let kids play in their own world. Kids need to balance organized and free play, playing with mum and self-directed playtime. This basic need is a right of every child. Parents need to take a step back and make sure their children have time to enjoy creative play time. Take a refreshing look at the world. Get involved with your children and join in their games.