The first serious physical activity a child undertakes is play. Also the first challenging mental activity undertaken by the child is playing. Experts consider play as an important component of a healthy childhood.
Playing involves 3 parts – initiation, play and end. These are considered as critical to cognitive development and children develop cognitive abilities like abstract thinking and problem solving while playing. It allows children to experience real world situations and make sense of the real world. Research shows cognitive skills developed while playing can have lasting benefits, making it easier to face challenges, cope with adversity and act responsibly throughout life. Playing maximizes child’s social development. Opportunities to play also present opportunities to socialize.
Far from being trivial, play time should be seen as an educational activity & toys as learning tools. Sorting, sequencing, counting, memory and puzzling all help develop the skills to think through a problem, face it calmly and solve it creatively.Play is the mechanism by which children learn—how they experience their world, practice new skills, and internalize new ideas—and is therefore essential. Through this continuous and expanding process,early skills give rise to new ones &new experiences are integrated with previous ones. For example, when a child bangs on a drum, she learns she can create a sound. Through play, she learns the important concept of cause and effect. Yes, toys and playing is important. And research shows that its benefits go beyond entertainment and fun.