What? Play Isn’t Just Play?

Throughout my years at Millersville University, each of my early childhood classes has touched on play in the classroom. We have had many discussions as to why play is important in child development. In each class, I have learned more and different information about the importance of play. In my future classroom, I would love to implement play throughout the day. I see the children at my job play the majority all day and they’re learning many things through play.

The article, Children at Play an Innovative Method From Studying and Teaching Nutritional Behaviors, talks about the impact play has on a child’s nutritional behaviors. Obesity develops from genetics and environment. Children may be more likely to learn healthy nutritional behaviors in environments that contain social influences. Those social influences happen with their parents, teachers, and peers. With each of those people, children can take part in play. With parents and teachers, they can learn about healthy meals and why it is important to eat well. While children are with their peers, they’re typically running around outside or inside. They’re constantly on the go with their peers, leading them to have active lifestyles and avoid obesity.

When a child learns through play, they’re learning how to express their ideas, thoughts, and typical behaviors. When a child is playing with their friend, they’re learning how to tell their friend how they feel and express themselves. A large part of a young child’s life is being active. This helps with their characteristic age progression, as well. The article also mentioned the play decreases stress. If a child is feeling stressed or worried about something, getting their energy out helps them significantly.

The nutritional behavior of a child plays an important part in their development. If a child does not eat healthy or go outside to play with their friends, they’re missing a significant part of their childhood. Eating healthy will lead them to live healthy lives as adults and have healthy bodies. When a child is able to partake in physical activity, especially with peers, they’re learning social skills and starting to get their bodies in shape. If they’re bodies are healthy inside and out, their minds will be.

Next time your students are taking part in play, observe each of them. What are they talking about with one another? What fine and gross motor skills are they learning? How can I involve myself to be a part of their development through play? I believe each of us could learn something from our students. What will you learn from them?