All parents and educationists appreciate the value of hands-on play for a child's development... We've gathered advice from the experts to explain why!
6 November 2016| Last updated on 2 January 2018
When it comes to life in Dubai, hands-on play is mostly restricted to the indoors. With high temperatures for the majority of the year, it's difficult for your children to get out, explore and engage in some physical activities.
However, being confined to the comfort of air conditioning isn't necessarily the worst thing in the world for your child... As they'll be presented with opportunities instead to engage in hands-on play with their fellow classmates at nursery or school, or at home with your family and their siblings, which is a fabulous thing, according to the experts. Plus, when the temperatures are comfortable and your children can roam free, continued hands-on playtime is still most definitely possible.
So if you're stuck for ideas on how to encourage playtime for your kids, here's some ideas and advice from Dubai-based experts to help you get started...
Play is great preparation for adult life
Over at Monroe's Nursery, they agree that play is a fundamental element in every child's life and is universal throughout the world. While play is engaged for sheer pleasure and enjoyment, it stimulates a cheerful attitude to life and learning and helps a child's development. Not only that, but it helps a child to obtain physical and mental well-being, as well as the opportunity to learn how to overcome their fears, play a positive role in social groups and to enhance their academic learning.
While there are many ways that a child can engage in playtime, the team at Monroe's Nursery favour free flow play... Letting children to explore their skills and imagination, and giving them an opportunity to explore their own feelings and ideas. After all, play should be seen as a creative process, and not a structured routine!
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Play allows a child to understand where they feel safe
At Dubai's Vernus Early Learning Centre, they reiterate the importance of play in the development and learning of a child. It helps them to prepare for life as an adult, and to practice experimenting, exploring and solving problems in their own, comfortable way. Through playtime, a child can explore different options that exist in their environment, allowing them a freedom and a degree of independence. Without restrictions, boundaries and goals, a child can explore endless possibilities in an environment of which they are ultimately in control of, and in a safe environment that they feel comfortable in.
Playtime helps enhance the muscles, senses and the brain
There are endless amounts of rewards from a child's playtime, and because of this, every educationist and educational philosopher advocates the need for hands-on-play based learning. In fact, the team at Little Wonders follow the 3 H method of education... Which involves the hand, heart and head, otherwise known as the muscles, senses and the brain.
From enriching a child's senses through touching, feeling, exploring to free play that involves choices, logic and thinking. Not only that, but role-playing allows a child to engage in symbolic play, which helps them to exceed in reading and writing. There's plenty more reasons, like these 10 'brainy' ones here.
In a technology-savvy world, play is important
When was the last time your child got outdoors - weather permitting - and got messy in the mud? Granted, for most of the year it's very uncomfortable outside, but in a world that is too technology focused, it's more important than ever to make the most of the cooler temperatures in Dubai and encourage your child to enjoy some playtime outside... And in the mud!
The team at Odyssey Nursery uphold this thought entirely and aim to flip a parent's stereotype of outdoor play. Where a parent might see a muddy puddle as messy, dirty-clothes and germ-filled, it's important to consider the sensory fun that a child can enjoy. Splashing, exploring and enhancing their imagination and creativity. Next time you're out in the garden or at the park, let your kids roam free for some open-ended play, like this for example!
Play helps a child to develop independence
When it comes to play-time, you might be forgiven to think a few toys here and there for half an hour or so might be sufficient. But there's so much more on offer that your child can enjoy; from active play like running, jumping and climbing to quiet play like reading or colouring, to social play that involves games and activities... There's solitary play where a child can drawing and dreaming, manipuliative play like puzzles and building blocks and creative play (painting, molding) and dramatic play (dress-up and make-believe).
While there's endless of options, ultimately the main aim is to develop your child's independence. As The Wonder Years Nursery points out, it's an essential part of childhood development and is fundamental to a child's social, emotional, physical and intellectual needs.