As several studies have shown, and as many paediatricians and child care professionals advocate, play is an essential element in helping a child develop physically, emotionally, mentally and socially. But it can also shape a child’s identity.
To promote learning
The primary importance of play in a child’s development is its ability to help a child learn. In the early years of life, a child explores or plays by doing the same things over and over again. For example, a baby often learns by grasping blocks, manipulating them and putting them in his mouth. A slightly older child, on the other hand, will learn by building towers with these same blocks and then dropping them soon afterwards. The children will repeat these actions several times, which will help them learn and develop their self-confidence. By playing with objects, children learn what these objects are and what they can do with them. They begin to understand their world.
One of the stages in a child’s development is « pretending ». By playing pretend, a child shows what he or she knows. They can imitate how grown-ups talk on the phone, how they act in the kitchen, and so on. Children can also build things like houses and cars with their toys. But in order to do this, they need to be creative and think about the ideal way to achieve their goal. Therefore, when children play pretend games, they begin to understand the world by trying things they have learned and seen, and by thinking about their impressions.
Play is important for a child’s imagination
Playing with toys that are adapted to him or her can enhance a child’s imagination. By playing, children discover the objects, people and events around them. By using his imagination, the child can transform these elements into a whole new world and adapt it to his desires. It is not uncommon for children to give life to objects, create an imaginary friend, make animals talk, give a completely different shape to common objects, and many others.