Playing is important for children. All kinds of playing count, but physical play is particularly essential to foster the brain development that kids, especially young ones and toddlers, so very much need. Without physical and active play, for instance, their fine and gross motor skills might not develop as fully as they should. And if these skills do not develop by the time that they reach their sixth birthday, it is unlikely that they ever will, leaving them to deal with the consequences of this for the rest of their lives.
Unfortunately, the widespread access to and use of technology in our modern worlds can, in some ways and for some people, hamper the desire to go out and play in a physical and active way, using your body if even just in small ways. For example, stacking blocks helps to build up motor skills in toddlers and young children while teaching other important skills like counting and even color recognition. Playing a game where you stack blocks on an iPad might help kids to learn their colors and their numbers, but will have no positive role in helping them to development their fine and gross motor skills, as they involve actually movement of the body to adequately and fully form.
But, in many ways, the use of electronics has taken over physical and active play and is causing as many as two thirds of all parents to worry about their children and if they are spending too much time using electronics like tablets, phones, computers, and televisions – among more. And though the vast majority (more than eighty percent of all parents) believe that it is important for their children to learn how to use technology and be technologically literate in our technology driven world, at least ninety percent of parents in the United States feel that it is equally important, if not more so, for children to spend time in the outdoors. Not only will this encourage them to engage in physical and active play, but it also likely to encourage them to use the creative side of their minds and come up with their own entertainment. After all, being bored is good for you and especially good for children, as it allows them to be creative. Unfortunately, too few parents, less than twenty five percent of them, have felt comfortable with simply letting their child be bored enough to figure out their own mode of entertainment, something that can also be beneficial for their overall brain development.
Getting your children to a playground can be a great way to encourage them to be active and engaged in the world around them. Playgrounds of today have many fun things to play on and explore, from the commercial sandbox to the tube slide to other such commercial playground equipment. The presence of a commercial sandbox, especially a commercial sandbox during the long and hot summer months, can be particularly enjoyable for young children and really, for children of all ages. The commercial sandbox allows children to build and create and the typical commercial sandbox will also provide a great sensory experience. And while a commercial sandbox and the use of a commercial sandbox can be appropriate for kids of all ages, you should supervise your younger child of toddler age in a commercial sandbox, as they are likely to be more prone to throw sand or even try to eat the sand in any given commercial sandbox.
For older kids, other parts of the playground are likely to beckon, from swing sets to tire swings. Climbing up the jungle gym is another option, and children can turn the playground into anything using their imaginations and their imaginations alone. From making the equipment into a castle or the ground into hot lava (or, in some cases, both), the options are limitless and provide a great way to help your children develop creativity and a love for independent imaginative play.
Play matters for purposes of fun as well as for the purposes of brain development, especially in very young children.