During early childhood, activities we undertake support the development of both gross and fine motor skills. When taking part in larger scale play, children work on their core strength, stability and balance. This type of play encourages children to be risk takers and enhances their spatial awareness. It is the development of gross motor skills that is the foundation of mark making , meaning the creation of patterns, lines and shapes, and writing development. Play involving fine motor skills offers a chance to build up muscle strength in the hands and dexterity, which in turn supports readiness to write.
When a child is fully immersed in play, they use their personal experiences and imagination. Children will use objects as something else and really get in to character. It is truly fascinating to observe and be part of the evolution of their ideas. Your child’s play might not appear to make sense when they ask you to use a shoe as a telephone, but this is a demonstration of them unravelling and making sense the world around them.
Benefits for Parents
As we move into adulthood, we can lose our sense of playfulness and imagination. Immersing ourselves within our child’s play brings back fond memories of our childhood. Taking the time to engage in play with our children and follow their lead is a great stress reliever. For that moment in time nothing else around us matters. Our minds feel stimulated in different ways as we problem solve and rise to the challenge of ‘defeating dragons’ and being a ‘shop keeper’. Above all it will strengthen family bonds.
When children play they are figuring out the world around them. They demonstrate their learning and experiences organically. When we take the time to play with our children we find that the knowledge, skills and language that occur are pleasantly surprising. It reveals a depth of learning that isn’t always apparent in traditional ‘learning’ activities.