We all grow up playing
Kids play games that are familiar parts of our cultures. Play endures, even as it appears to change over time. Take, for example, peekaboo. A toddler pokes his head around the edge of an open doorway. We don’t think about it. We just say, “Peekaboo!” The toddler laughs, and so do we. It is fun, natural, something that people just do. Everybody grew up with Peekaboo! We all grow up playing this game.
Play is so much a part of our lives as human beings that we often fail to reflect on the range of our play activities and on what those activities mean for us. For example, Bruner and Sherwood (1976) tell us that that peekaboo begins to teach children social rules about how to interact with others. What other games, like peekaboo, do we play, and why do we play them? What does play like peekaboo, patty-cake, pretend cops and robbers, Crazy Eights, and MORGs (multiplayer online role-playing games) contribute to children’s development?
Our lives are full of play. We have organized sports in our schools and out of them, including soccer for preschoolers and more traditional Little League, gymnastics, and skating programs. There are playgrounds in city parks, facilities for play in shopping malls, and a burgeoning world of play made available through personal computers. Children’s play is thoroughly woven into the fabric of our daily lives, in very visible and organized ways. We are aware of all this play. But how can we think about it? What are our reasons for playing?
Play is described as the foundation for learning and mental health in families.
In this day and age, we engage in some play consciously and for a purpose, for example, when we join a soccer team or go to the theater with friends. We have built play into our lives, creating social institutions for its expression. Play, for human beings, is a set of cultural practices of which we are fully conscious. We all grow up playing many games. Play is a part of our rational thinking, how we plan and think about how we live, especially concerning to the lives of children.
Play can help children to develop these positive dispositions for learning:
- finding an interest
- being willing to explore, experiment and try things out
- knowing how and where to seek help
- being inventive – creating problems, and finding solutions
- being flexible – testing and refining solutions
- being engaged and involved – concentrating, sustaining interest, persevering with a task, even when it is challenging
- making choices and decisions
- making plans and knowing how to carry them out
- playing and working collaboratively with peers and adults
- managing self, managing others
- developing ‘can-do’ orientations to learning
- being resilient – finding alternative strategies if things don’t always go as planned
- understanding the perspectives and emotions of other people.
Children bring their own experiences, culture and personal characteristics to their play. Practitioners need to understand and respond to children’s differences as players just as in every other aspect of their development. The game has great importance in the development of speech. The word follows the play. In the game, the child names the items to play with, names the actions and relationships. In the process of play, the child best manages the space. It moves and masks space, comes into contact with objects in space, and thus actively learns about spatial relationships. The socialization of the child is inseparable from learning and children’s play, that is, learning is inseparable from socialization.
Through play, children establish and build relationships with each other and gain social experiences. Children’s spontaneous drawings should be nurtured. He needs to enjoy fine art, a play of colors and shapes. Some people think that musical art is closer to children than other arts because it is more oriented towards sensibility. The most suitable form of musical creativity in children’s games in which the child uses voice, say, movement, rhythmic speech, musical instruments, etc. In the earliest childhood, the basis for a physically healthy and strong personality is laid. And that is the activity of the child at play. It has a beneficial effect on the development of the organism as a whole. In the process of physical activity, their functions are developed and perfected, which are of great importance for the life of the child in general.
Learning, Playing and Interacting, Good practice in the Early Years Foundation Stage