March 27, 2017 Carol Miller

What Active Play Does For Your Child?

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Play is a right of childhood and where we all learn valuable life skills and emotional development that set kids on the path to being well-rounded adults. What Active Play Does For Your Child? Active play assists in children’s physical and mental development, it helps them build coping skills and builds empathy traits that they will carry with them throughout their lives.
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Today, with childhood obesity rates as they are, getting kids physically active is critical.

Kids are active if you are. The best way to get your child moving is to set a good example.

This starts at home by engaging in physical activities rather than sedentary ones such as watching TV, playing computer games or using a tablet as a babysitter.

Indoors, you can play hide-and-seek, toss nerf balls or bat balloons to each other, play danceable music and dance, practice yoga or do a bodyweight workout.
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Outdoors, teach your kids how to skip, kick a soccer ball back and forth, go for a bike ride together, or challenge your child to race down the driveway or street.  Make it fun. Anything that raises his or hers heart rate and gets blood pumping is a benefit and will help establish the foundation for the love of fitness.

Emotional development rounds out active play, through play kids learn how to handle their frustrations, coping skills, conflict resolution, cooperation, and empathy.

Why Play Is Important:

Play is the business of childhood, allowing your child free rein to experiment with the world around themselves and the emotional world inside each of our children.

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While it may look like simple child’s play to you, play engages your child in many ways ranging from problem solving / resolution, developing social skills, skill building, overcoming physical and emotional challenges.

Play is the business of childhood, allowing your child free rein to experiment with the world around themselves and the emotional world

Play helps your child develop emotionally and prepares them to deal with real life, including conflict resolution, physical challenges and other that they will face throughout their lifetime.

 Imagination and Play

 Around age 2 kids begin demonstrating pretending, or imaginative play. As a parent you need to encourage this type of play, this is where kids learn that how to problem solve as they move from different scenarios and probable outcomes.

Kids use their imagination to explore a variety of scenarios and outcomes.

Occasionally the stories they act out reflect issues they are struggling to understand; other times they are role-playing. Allowing your child to engage in imaginative play gives them a sense of control as they interpret the dramas of everyday life and practice rules of social behavior.

 Social Skills And Play

As toddlers, children play side by side without obvious verbal communication they start to interact with each other by creating complex story lines together. As they do this, they learn to negotiate, cooperate, and share.
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When kids disagree about who gets to be a particular character from their favorite cartoon or movie or who will wear the Star Wars costume, they are developing important social skills.

The easiest way to help your child build new friendships is to schedule play dates or participate in a playgroup for your child and his friends. This is where you can evaluate what social skills you can help your child master ranging from cooperation, negotiation skills, empathy, compromising and sharing.

 Physical Development And Play

There are nonphysical benefits of physical play that helps kids work through stress and grouchiness. In fact, without adequate time for active play, your child has limited ways to work through their stress. Physical activity is well documented as a great stress reliever. Also, physical activity prevents obesity.

Kids learn their love for fitness by the age of 9

Different types of physical play help develop different physical muscles and skills. Skipping takes balance, climbing monkey bars builds strength, and sports activities involve coordination and teamwork.
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Large motor skills, such as running, throwing, and pedaling, improve first, but fine motor skills follow right behind. A 3-year-old carefully stacking blocks into towers is not only learning about gravity and balance but also developing hand-eye coordination.

The dexterity your child develops during play carries over into everyday life, giving them a sense of independence.

Indoors, you can play hide-and-seek, toss nerf balls or bat balloons to each other, play danceable music and dance, practice yoga or do a bodyweight workout.

Outdoors, teach your kids how to skip, kick a soccer ball back and forth, go for a bike ride together, or challenge your child to race down the driveway or street.  Make it fun. Anything that raises his or hers heart rate and gets blood pumping is a benefit and will help establish the foundation for the love of fitness.

It is well documented that kids learn their love for fitness by the age of 9; therefore it is imperative that kids be active, having fun and enjoying physical activity to set them up for a healthy lifestyle and love of fitness during their early years that will stay with them throughout their lifetime.

 Emotional Development and Play

 During play, kids will show bits of behavior they need help with; things they don’t understand. Your role is to respond with the appropriate response, break the tension and add some humor along the way.

Kids express themselves through physical play and storytelling long before they use conversations

For example, when at school or in a play group a toy is taken from them, rather than have your child hit another, this is the opportunity to show them that it’s ok and to have them understand that there are kids with poor manners, are bullies and how to manage the situation.

Children express themselves through physical play and storytelling long before they use conversations to explain. They will role-play out various scenarios reliving the experience as a way to understand the events. This is healthy and where parents can help them build coping skills along with proper behavior.

 Play and Your Child And Your Role

Wipfler says it’s helpful to allow your child to lead during play. “Let your child determine what to do and how to do it within the limits of safety and time constraints,” she says. “This lets him try out his judgment and allows him to show you what he’s delighted in.”

Join in your child’s play, but only when invited to do so. As he lets you into his world of make-believe, give him complete control. In real life, you may be in charge, but this is his world.

The attention you show your child when you play together is key to building his self-esteem, says Wilford. For example, when you pretend along with him, you’re showing him that you accept his make-believe world, that something he’s interested in is fun and meaningful to you, too.

Encourage free play

It’s critically important not to get so caught up in providing so many structured activities that our children don’t have time to just hang out with other kids and figure out for themselves what to do with their time.

Kids who are too involved in organized sports, classes, and activities end up not knowing how to entertain themselves.

Kids who are kept occupied every minute don’t have the time to activate their imaginations.

 When the adults provide all the ideas for play and leisure time activates along with setting the rules, kids are deprived of learning valuable social skills.

Free play gives kids the chance to learn to work with others and to make compromises.

After all, a child can’t pretend to be a superhero without people to save. They can’t learn to take turns if there isn’t another kid who wants to be the hero too.

If kids want other people to play with them, they must learn how to go along with others’ ideas and to go along with the group decision that is made by consensus.

Yes, it’s important to provide kids with experiences that teach them new skills and how to work and play in a team. Be it participating in soccer, the baseball, a dance team or any other organized activity, they learn how to cooperate with a group goal and will develop physically, mentally and emotionally. However, team play cannot be exclusive, and there must be a balance.

Learn to love the notion of free play. It means unrestricted and boundless, let your kids’ imagination runs, encourage them to experiment and do so with no cost. This is essential for growing children to develop into happy, well-rounded adults who are physically active.

Free play, lets kids try out their judgment and allows them to show you what they are interested in.

When invited by your child, join in their play, but only when invited, this is their world, and they need to control the play. In real life, you as the parent are in charge, in their world they are.

Free active play teaches kids how to manage authority and more

This teaches children how to handle authority and more, so enjoy and engage your kids in free active play, the world will be a better place from it!