The importance of play for children
As adults we use different ways to communicate and express ourselves, we communicate verbally, we use body language, we can draw, as we grow up we learn how to express our feelings but what about the children? That’s a different story. So, my question is what is the importance of play for children in the therapeutic setting and in the educational setting(school)?
As mentioned before, psychoanalysing children is very different from psychoanalysing adults, it’s a more complex situation. In the therapeutic setting we use ludo therapy or play therapy, which allows the child to play, gives him the opportunity to express himself and to feel safe. The material that we collect during ludo therapy is extremely rich. Through play the child will recreate scenarios, situations that he has already lived, experienced in his real life revealing his deepest fears, emotional issues, traumas, anxieties, etc. It’s the interrelationship between his real world and his emotional world.
What about in the school setting? What is the importance of play for children? Children play because that’s what they do, they need to play, in order to grow in a healthy way.Through play they develop very important skills in these areas: language/literacy, physical, social, emotional and cognitive skills. Children explore their world around them using their natural curiosity, exploring their bodies, their minds, asking questions, testing possibilities and theories. Playing allows children to connect simple ideas to develop a higher way of thinking. All the skills they learn through play will be applied throughout their life, such as making-decision, cooperation, self-regulation, self-awareness, experimentation, trial and error, speaker and listener roles, dexterity, initiative, conflict resolution among other things. Playing also promotes self-esteem, sense of belonging and happiness because the children are interacting and socializing.
To sum up, next time you see a child playing or scribbling don’t think that they are “just playing”, they are doing much more than that, it matters!