I remember my childhood with nostalgia in the serene neighborhood of Oluyoro Street in Bodija, Ibadan. We played ehn, I mean we really played. Don’t get me wrong ooo, we also worked hard. We did house chores, had lesson teachers, read a lot but we really did play hard.
I know many of them are no longer in fashion sha but some of the things we did were ‘Suwe’ , which the Oyinbos call hop-step-and- jump, ten- ten, hide and seek, card and board games and skipping (I was such a poor skipper then). Lol.
Okay, back to the matter… A child learns through different avenues and play is one of them. Playtime for kids is not a waste of time unlike what many parents believe especially if it is done in a constructive manner. It allows them be creative while developing their imagination and sensory skills. Their physical and cognitive skills are developed while emotional development is also enhanced. Play is in fact very crucial to healthy brain development.
One advantage is that it helps your child develop his social skills. During play, your child learns to share his toys and thus builds team spirit as he plays other kids of his age. He learns to negotiate the language and communication skills also improve.
Playing with sand and water is one inexpensive way your child can play. Have you noticed that most children are almost always naturally attracted to sand and water? They want to splash, touch, run their fingers through, pour or sift it. You can give them funnels, sieves, bottles and so onto make it more fun. Kids can also grasp mathematical skills such as measurement as they cook, build castles and stories around it and just generally explore. There’s no end to what they can do with sand.
Most parents prevent them from touching sand or water. Why? They don’t want them to get dirty. Parents are also afraid that the children could mess up floors. But you can ask the child to join in the clean-up. He then learns another great lesson. That is to be responsible enough to clean up after himself.
One other way of making playtime constructive is by playing with your child. Hello??? Did you just tell me to play with my child? Oh yeah, you heard right. Play!!! Yes, go ahead. Just do it! A lot of us parents get so busy that they do not even have time to play with their kids anymore. We race and hurry through life and don’t even spare some time to see how they are faring with their school work, emotionally and in other areas let alone play with them.
However, make sure you don’t go to the extreme of dictating how your child should play. Remember it is all about the child and the ability to be creative even with play. He should be able to determine the direction and path of his play.
A mother,teacher,administrator, counselor and author. She is passionate about helping parents raise godly children in Christian homes.