Too many parents consider play as simply a means of diverting
and distracting their children. Playthings are often seen as a
means of keeping children happy, rewarding them, keeping them
out of mischief, and giving parents free time.
Not often enough do parents think of play and toys as
fundamental aspects of a child's education, as a means through
which children learn to understand the world around them, and as
the primary method by which children acquire many basic skills.
Parents can help make their children's play stimulating by doing
First, they can adopt an attitude of
conscious, deliberate planning in which play is regarded as one
of the most important aspects of their children's environment.
Second, they can see to it that their children are provided with
the kinds of toys and playthings that will help develop the
widest possible varieties of skills and abilities.
they can assume a direct, participating role in their children's
Planning a child's play does not mean planning each
activity for every moment of the child's playtime. On the
contrary, children should have maximum independence in choosing
their own activities. And, within the limits of the daily
routine of the home, a child should also choose the time for
their activities, as well as the duration of each. Good planning
makes sure that play is as varied and stimulating as possible.
A child should play at different times, with friends, with
parents, and by theirself. This play should include, within a
period of about a month, all or most of the following types of
activities, each geared to the age level of the child.
Here are 5 of them:
Games are perhaps the
most basic of all forms of play. From peek-a-boo to chess, from
pat-a-cake to baseball, games occupy a central role in the lives
of most children from infancy to adolescence. Games may be
physical or mental. In general they involve the development of
skills, although some lead to the acquisition of information.
#2. Arts and Crafts
Arts and crafts give children many
opportunities to express their desire to make things. Crayons,
paints, clay, construction paper, scissors and paste, wood,
leather, felt, and cardboard are among the materials that help
children develop their creative imaginative, and aesthetic
abilities. Arts and crafts also develop skills in manipulation,
perception, and analysis.
#3. Construction Play
Construction play involves assembling objects from what are
usually prefabricated parts. It is less creative than arts and
crafts, but is also useful in developing many skills. Putting
together a set of railroad tracks and trains is a form of
construction play, as is play with erector sets, Tinker toys,
blocks and the like.
#4. Projective Play
play is play in which a child adds dramatic and emotional
meaning to activities with representative toys—dolls, trucks,
soldiers, homemaking sets, and doctor kits. Its great value lies
in the role playing done by the child rather than in the
development of specific skills.
which cannot be otherwise classified will generally fall under
the heading of collecting activities. Collecting stamps, coins,
rocks and minerals, butterflies and insects, sea shells, and
leaves are all common and popular hobbies. While some help in
the development of certain skills, their greatest value is in
the considerable knowledge a child can acquire in pursuing them.
Most play can be classified in one of these five groups, and,
ideally, play should include all of these types. Also, as skills
develop, the activities should move to a higher, more mature
However, a child does not automatically vary his play or
develop in it. This is where the parent's planning comes in —-
continually making the child aware of the broad opportunities
available to him in play; initiating certain activities during
playtime; making suggestions when the child needs and wants
them; buying toys that will, in themselves, lead to new
pursuits; stimulating new interests and ideas in any of a
variety of ways. The parent should not manage the child's play,
but should try to nudge it in the right directions.
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