While many children get adequate daytime playtime when they’re at school or child care, many parents don’t have the time or ability to play with them on the weekends when they’re not amongst other children.
It’s important that children get to experience play, both for their physical and cognitive development, but how do you know when your child is getting enough?
We’re here to talk about it. Learn all about the importance of play and how much playtime your child needs.
How Much Playtime is Recommended by Experts?
There’s a minimum amount of playtime that experts recommend, but that doesn’t mean that you should stop there.
It’s important that children receive at least an hour of free playtime, and a half hour of guided playtime every day, though they should receive more if possible.
This doesn’t include screen time. While screen time can help if children are playing games, many of their skills are developed when they’re able to move and interact with the world.
So, what are the different types of play, and why should you bother?
Why Does Play Matter?
Now that we know the numbers, it’s important that you understand that playtime isn’t just for leisure. Depending on the types of play your child is engaging in, they get plenty of benefits out of playtime.
Playtime helps your child engage with the world. When they’re small, children are learning new things all the time. They’re learning spatial awareness, sensory details, social skills, and more.
Basically, for children, playtime is learning time. A child wanting to play isn’t wasting time, even if they’re having fun.
What Kinds of Play Should We Encourage?
So, we know that play matters, but what types of play should children be engaging in, and how can we encourage it?
All children are different, and they may need more or less encouragement in different areas depending on their personalities. Right now, though, you’re helping to form that personality by encouraging various types of play.
Physical outdoor playtime is crucial for a child’s physical development. When they run and play, they’re refining their gross and fine motor skills. They’re also getting adequate amounts of sunlight which may help with eye health.
Social playtime is important for children as well. Children need to play with others in order to develop social skills.
Indoor solitary playtime, like playing pretend, playing with toys, or even coloring, helps to develop creativity and cognitive flexibility. Children also learn independence when you allow them to play on their own.
Parent-guided play, where you take a more hands-on role, is great for young children. This is where you use playtime as a teaching moment. For example, ask your child why they’re setting up their blocks a certain way, or guide them to do so in a way that their block towers will stay stable.
This helps with parent-child bonding, as well as cognitive skills. When a child has to explain what they’re doing, they learn more effectively.
Does Your Child Play Enough?
Play is essential for proper childhood development. While it’s great to prepare your child for the world through educational tasks and tools, playtime allows them to learn on their own and decompress.
When you don’t make enough time for your child’s play, you’re doing them (and yourself) a disservice.
At Grow With Us Learning Academy, we understand the importance of play and exploration. A child’s education begins with toys and friends. Do you want to start your child’s education off right with an engaging play and learning environment?
Contact us with any questions or to register your child today. We can’t wait to meet you.