The Power of Play: How Playtime Supports Child Development

by Dr. Gopal Wasgaonkar

travelling with a child ? all you need to know
Posted on : Aug 17, 2023

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The Importance of Play for Children and Babies

Being around a baby or young child often brings a lot of joy as kids are very playful at this age. From infancy to one’s teenage years, playtime is an important aspect recommended by pediatric professionals that goes beyond just having fun. 
At every stage, playtime supports the healthy development of your child. It provides the space for holistic growth including physical, cognitive, and social developmental benefits. To know more about fun ways to engage your child, you can consult the best pediatrician in Kolhapur. 

How Playtime Helps Your Child

Playtime has a fundamental role in your child’s development. In infancy, the child’s brain is still developing allowing for a variety of sensory and neuron connections to form. The engagement of different aspects such as physical movement, imagination, etc. all help the child to learn and develop holistically. Your pediatric doctor may also check the child’s response to playtime to gauge their overall cognitive and physical growth. 
Some of the benefits offered by playtime include: 
Physical development due to crawling, jumping, and running. Different movements and activities help in the development of fine motor skills, muscles, balance and coordination, as well as dexterity. Any deformity or limitation noticed here may allow for early treatment by a pediatric surgeon before it develops further. 
Engaging in playtime activities with others or groups can build self-expression and communication. Children learn to communicate with others, develop their comprehension abilities, as well as self-express. As they grow older, activities can evolve to boost their literacy and learning skills. 
Play helps your child build confidence and develop emotionally. Creating a fun, safe environment for the child can help them experience joy and feel loved, all of which are crucial during their developmental years. 
Another major benefit of playtime for children is that it encourages imagination and creativity. At this stage, a child feels limitless and everything from role-playing to artistic avenues such as painting helps them express and build their creativity.  
Providing children with regular playtime filled with diverse activities can go a long way in supporting holistic development which helps them all through their life. 

Types of Play

As your child grows, playtime will evolve too. While during infancy the child may be limited in movement, their imagination often runs wild. As they become older, play activities such as sports and games can offer additional outlets. The two most common forms of play are freestyle and structured. 
Freestyle or unstructured play
This type of playtime is when the child is free to occupy their time with whatever they want. They may spend it by themselves doing certain activities such as building blocks, playing with household objects, role-playing, and more. 
Structured play
On the other hand, activities such as group board games, sporting activities, and classes led by an adult, all constitute structured play. While freestyle play is wonderful to encourage a child’s imagination and express themselves, introducing forms of structured play at different ages can help support the healthy development of the child. The best pediatrician in Kolhapur can guide you on different types of play that best suit your child. 

Play Ideas for Different Ages

Babies: Making facial expressions, playing music or singing, and tickling the baby, are all fun ways to engage your newborn. Activities such as tummy time and peekaboo are popular ways to have fun and develop your child’s emotional and physical abilities. 
Toddlers: Playing with different sizes and textures of objects is a prime attraction at this age. This may include throwing them, dragging them or stacking them on top of each other to make a structure. Some children may start discovering their favourite corners in the home or responding to music more. 
Preschoolers: This stage is when the focus goes beyond creativity to physical and cognitive development. Play ideas include solving jigsaw puzzles, dancing, and playing with paper or clay to make different shapes. 
Junior and Middle School: At this stage, playtime can mean anything from sporting activities to memory games and even artistic activities. Some of these may be led by your child’s interest. 

Conclusion

Playtime offers a fun way to support your child’s overall development. In case you find your child is uninterested in playtime or unable to perform certain activities, be sure to consult your pediatric doctor.