A child’s imagination can turn a cardboard box into a mansion, a stick into a magic wand, and the floor into hot lava. When we give our little one’s free reign to play and use their imagination, they’ll never have a shortage of ideas. What most people don’t know is that this free form of play is crucial to childhood development. Free play has a positive impact on a child’s academic success, social skills, health, and emotional temperament.
We often tell our children they can only go out and play once they have finished their homework. However, the science shows that maybe this should be the other way around. It has been found that free play expands a child’s attention span and brain functions in both the short and long term. Pathways in the brain are opened up by creating rules and navigating through free play. In fact, children who regularly participated in free play were found to have higher GPAs. Giving your child the freedom to create their own fun aids childhood development and can actually make them more intelligent.
Free play can also substantially improve your little one’s social skills. When children play together, they learn empathy, understanding group dynamics, and social navigation. They discover what happens when they break rules and how roleplaying affects other children. When working together through free play, children discover how to treat others fairly and as equals. Honing social skills is very important to childhood development and free play is a great way to do so.
The health habits your child develops at an early age can follow them into adulthood. By making fitness a part of their daily routine, you can prepare them for a life of wellness. Free play is a great way to get your child moving. Activities like climbing, swimming, and jumping are not only fun but improve your little one’s motor skills and coordination. Healthy, active children will enjoy exercise more, making it easier for them to stay fit as they get older.
At the end of the day, we only want our children to be happy. During free play, children go through challenging situations that help them learn to control their emotions in the face of stressors. The fear your child experiences from being high up in a tree or swing set allows them to test their limits and control negative emotions. By coping with mildly threatening situations during free play, your child gains the foundation of learning how to avoid becoming overwhelmed later in life. Childhood development of self-control and emotional stability follows them into their adult lives and makes them more relaxed and stable people.
It appears that a lack of free play has had an effect on society. There has been a significant increase in anxiety and depression since the 1950s. Psychologists believe this is in part due to children having less outdoor free play. TV, video games, and computers encourage kids to stay inside and have fun through passive activities. By encouraging your child to go outside and explore their emotions through free play, you can help make a healthier, happier life for your them.
Encourage Childhood Development
Sending your children to a school that encourages free play is a great way to support their childhood development. Home Away From Home Academy is an outstanding private school that teaches infants through second graders on the border of Aberdeen and Holmdel, New Jersey. As leaders in childhood education, we work to promote the social, emotional, intellectual, and physical growth of your little ones. At HAFHA, we believe that given the right tools, balanced with the right kind of play and guidance, children grow into exemplary adults. Contact us to learn more about our exceptional organization.