29 August, 2010

The importance of play by Armineh from Tup Tup Toys

This months guest blog is by Armineh from Tup Tup Toys. Thanks Armineh for a great blog post that really illustrates the importance of play based learning. Hope you enjoy reading it, please comment below :)

The importance of play

I heard someone complain the other day that pre-school was too play based. This made me think about play and what it means. How much play should there be at pre-school, and didn’t it used to be called play-school? Why is play important?

Today’s world can be very competitive and there are ever increasing pressures on our children – at pre school, school, extra curricular activities, TV etc. Shouldn’t they be putting their time to better use? But the importance of play shouldn’t be underestimated. It is apparently critical for children to play in order to reach their full potential in life. Through it, children develop their ability to communicate, understand and imagine – as well as other essential life skills. These are just a few:

• It helps children learn about the world in which they live – playing school, fire engines, hospitals.
• It allows a young child to be in charge.
• It builds self esteem – children often play at something they know they can do well.
• It gives children a chance to work out their feelings – dolly was naughty because she scribbled on the wall. She had to go in time out, just like I did.
• It helps to build social skills – taking turns (children whose parents play with them apparently ultimately develop better social skills)
• It helps children grow beyond their years – they can be anything they want, doctor, fireman, bridge builder (engineer)
• It helps with language development – a new word learnt, will be repeated to teddy later.
• It stimulates creativity and imagination.

So play is important, it is what children do and it’s likely to be better quality play when children know it is valued by adults. One of the ways to do this is by playing with your child. This is something I have to be reminded of from time to time but it is great to spend some time each day, just playing with your child (just remember not to dominate or prescribe the play, a gentle nudge in the right direction and try not to intervene too much unless safety is an issue).

Armineh is founder and co-director of Tup Tup Toys. They have a great range of toys, chosen with care, from brands you can trust. To find out more about their toys, who makes them and what’s new, check out the “Watch Our Video” section on their homepage. You can also find out more about play, top tips and new ideas on their blog.

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