The Importance of Play

Give your children a head start by letting them get on with what they do best – having fun!

Experts say that playing fosters learning and early childhood development, helping children acquire knowledge and skills.

But in an age of cellphones and screen time, extra lessons, academic tests and long school lesson, too many children aren’t spending enough time just being kids and engaging in unplanned, unstructured playtime.

The power of playtime

Whether they’re playing physical games outside, letting their imaginations run wild, exploring alone or socialising with friends, children derive important life lessons from the chance to be spontaneous and experiment.

How children learn through play

Some of the life lesson children learn through play:

● Negotiation skills
● Collaboration and cooperation
● Inventiveness
● Conflict resolution
● Self-confidence
● Problem-solving
● Decision-making
● Creativity
● Language skills
● Physical development
● Leadership

In her TedX Talk talk, Professor Doris Fromberg, Director of Early Childhood Teacher Education at Hofstra University, explains why play is such an important part of the learning process for children.

We need to consider that young children learn in quite different ways [than adults]. They learn by comparing physical experiences, by interactions with other people and their own feelings.

And they learn an enormous amount through their imagination… Play is what pulls together the logical and creative parts of the brain.

Tips to prioritise playtime

Here are some tips for parents to help their children become playtime pros:

Don’t overschedule – yes, extracurricular activities can be fun, but children also need the time and the freedom to explore unstructured play opportunities.
Provide age-appropriate toys – there’s no need to house a toy shop, but having a few favourite toys helps encourage kids to learn through play.
Get involved – engaging in play with your children encourages them to try different forms of play and also helps strengthen your bonds.
Limit screen time – set an appropriate limit on how much screen time your kids are allowed each day.
Send them outside – encourage your children to explore the outdoors.

Now, let’s get out there and have some fun!


Shea Karssing is a writer for School-Days, a bursary-building platform that helps South African families pay towards school fees. Join for free today!


Images: Stock photos from Robert Kneschke/ Shutterstock

Kathryn Rossiter

Kathryn is a South African lifestyle blogger and mom of 2 who has been blogging daily for over 9 years! She writes about travel, health, beauty, fashion, decor and family... but not food (unless it's food she's eaten made by someone else) as she is a hopeless cook. She only wakes up early for 2 things... a red-eye flight to somewhere exotic and early morning game drives. She has just finished an extensive home renovation and would prefer to never see another box again. She's never met a chocolate or glass of bubbles that she didn't like!

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