The importance of playing for babies' development
Can you remember the days when children’s toys were simple? Children used to spend their day playing with wooden blocks, Lego, dress up clothes, plastic tubs filled with rice and lentils, dolls, puppets, books, toy cars. I remember these toys. I loved these toys.
Children’s toys have come a long way. There is an array of motorised toys that make noises, have flashing lights and talk at children. You name it and there is probably a children’s toy to do it.
It’s not hard to see how these toys are attractive to children. The constant flashiness and noisiness is attention grabbing and enthralling. Modern toys make us feel like we are interacting with the toy. Or rather, it is interacting with us.
Some psychologists attribute the rise of attention and concentration difficulties to the fact that we’re so used to toys ‘doing things’ that when things stop doing things, we switch off. Our brain gets bored because it is used to constant entertainment by something external. The brain hasn’t learned to think creatively and engage with the world around itself. But rather it is waiting for the world to engage with it. It’s always waiting for the toy, the screen or the gadget to ‘do something’. You can read more about this in this article by Fran Laskar, Psychotherapist, as she discusses how modern toys are stunting the development of children.
Play is the work of the child. Children develop motor skills as they manipulate objects. They develop creativity as they imagine, invent and reinvent the familiar objects into something new. Play develops our emotional and social skills. We learn to communicate, to understand, to rationalise. Play is the ultimate learning experience. There are plenty of ordinary household objects to inspire play. Visit www.playtalkread.org for tips and ideas.
Curl up with a child and enjoy the book Not a Box. This book is all about creative play. It’s a book that will make you want to rush out and find every child a cardboard box. After all, when a younger child unwraps a gift, it’s often the box they play with first.