Let’s Talk Play in ECD
Are you passionate about play?! February 2023 is being celebrated as play month under the theme “The passion for play”. Play should be encouraged and included in the daily activities of children because it influences the way they learn and develop. The more children engage in play, the more conscious they are of their environment and how it works. It is also important to note that, aside from the cognitive benefits of play, there are also social, physical and therapeutic benefits which allows children to socialize with peers, learn effective communication and negotiation skills (Anderson-McNamee, 2010).
Did you know that there are different forms of play? Let’s take a look at three different types of play in Early Childhood Development.
CREATIVE PLAY/ DRAMATIC PLAY
Creative play allows children to express their creativity and imagination. This form of play is considered as open-ended play because there is no end results or outcome as the children are free to create whatever they want. Just take a peek at the picture above, the children are provided with blocks of different colours and sizes. You can see that they are working together and using their imaginations to create a masterpiece. You may never know, it could be a house, bus or even a dinosaur. Forms of creative play include Arts, singing, dancing, role play and storytelling.
Some benefits of creative play are: It encourages creativity in children, allows children to express themselves freely, aid in the development of their fine motor skills and allows children to explore new ideas.
Free Play is when children have the freedom to choose their activities and areas of focus. This type of play is unstructured and voluntary. During free play, children are able to express their creativity through play. Forms of free play include Sand and water play, dress up play, symbolic play, building puzzles and process art.
Some benefits of free play are: It teaches independence, allows children to discover their interest and skills and create decision making skills.
Outdoor play is one of the things that characterize childhood (Johnson et al, 2010). Outdoor play provides children with the opportunity to explore the natural environment. Outdoor play also allows children to develop more advance motor skills. Some forms of outdoor play include climbing, swinging, cycling, bat and ball and running.
Some benefits of outdoor play are exposure to vitamin D through exposure to the sun, enhances physical development and promotes advance motor skills.
Let’s get passionate about play in ECD because “Play is the answer to how anything new comes about”- Jean Piaget