child in therapy playing with toy train

We are 3 weeks into the New Year and while your children might have received 2 million new toys, they are ‘BORED’. Are the children really ‘bored’ or are they unsure of how to play? The art of play does NOT come natural to some children, especially those with a developmental difference. Play is definitely a skill that needs (and should) be taught from a very young age.

Work of Childhood

Play is the ‘work’ of childhood. Play is the official format of therapy for the majority of children as well. Teaching how to play benefits a child’s language and overall development.

Emotional Understanding

Play increases a child’s ability to process and practice emotions. Through imaginative play, children can act out emotions of fear, anger, etc. as well as practice empathy and understanding. Play also provides children with a sense of accomplishment and self-satisfaction, which help to build confidence and self-esteem.

Social Skills

Play increases a child’s social skills. Through the art of play, a child learns about turn-taking, sharing, and overall group dynamics. Play provides the opportunity to develop friendships and practice compromise.

Cognitive Development

Play increases a child’s cognitive ability and brain development. Through play a child gains reasoning, attention, and memory skills as well as problem solving skills – all important and crucial for success academically and socially.

Communication Skills

Play increases a child’s communication skills. Plays provides a safe, unassuming venue to practice sentence structures, sound effects and overall listening skills. Plays facilitates initiating, maintaining and concluding conversations – with real or imaginative friends. Play also provides children with the opportunity to work on recognizing non-verbal cues and body language.

So much goes into playing. It can be exhausting for both child and adult, but worth every glorious moment. Make a plan to incorporate play into your daily schedule. Pick one toy or activity to focus on for the day. Relax and connect with your child.  Now stop reading and get out there and PLAY!

child in therapy session playing with train tracks
child in therapy coloring
child playing with toy doll

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