Modern society has allowed children to get lost in a world of electronics, from television to xbox’s. The greatest gift given to every human being – imagination – is being dwindled away by someone else’s creation, as though we are robbed of our own creativity.
I remember when I was a child; I used to go camping most weekends which consisted of either playing football with my new friends, or embarking on adventures into the woods; climbing trees and my favourite – making dens. But nowadays most children are pre-occupied with iPads, phones or a gaming console.
Where is the originality? Where are the castles that were erected from a mere tree and a few twigs? All lost.
But hope is not. Whilst we see it all being taken away, we are the ones who can give it back and take control! Get them a bike and drag them from the television. Enter the playhouse that has been covered in overgrown trees and bushes with your children. Inspire them to rediscover a complete fantasy world that only they can picture – for it is here where children grow, learn and develop into amazing people.
Studies show that child play time is key for academic, social, emotional, physical and cognitive growth of children. Rediscovering their imagination and keeping them active allows children to reach their full potential as young adults. One of the most misguiding points made by our government is that children are only educated in school. In most cases, yes the academic side of education is predominantly expanded through schooling, but it is also developed through play time where they can communicate with others and develop an understanding of the balance between studying and relaxing. It helps relieve the stress upon the mind, allowing them to recover and ultimately, grow.
The Centre of Family research in Cambridge recently performed a study highlighting the impact that a parent has on their child’s development. Cognitive and language development was evidenced by teachers who commented that children talked of fun activities at home. In a way, parents who engage in playful activities with their children act as role models, as it is a well known factor that children copy their elders. This stimulates a child’s growth by providing playful ‘cues’, which can be measured by a system created by the PEDAL research centre. They suggest that parent-child play can provide an exciting and structured guided play time where children develop narrative and writing skills, as well as their own control over their learning process.
Play is paramount in developing our character and who we grow into as a human being. Problem solving, behaviour, socialising and education are all key factors affected from early development through play. Our culture, technology and advancement all stems from early childhood which is moulded through play and having fun – so really it should be considered a vital part of growing up, and modern society and media should stress the importance of it. However, currently it is overlooked far too much.
Did you know that around a third of children in the UK are obese? That’s a huge growth over the last 20 or so years! Guess what else has developed massively over these past 20 years… technology – coincidence? I think not. The increasing sedentary lifestyle of younger children is having huge effects on health, with those between the age of 2 and 10 that watch 2 hours of TV a day being at risk of high blood pressure.
With the Rio 2016 Olympics just finishing, a healthy active lifestyle is being advertised all around us. Outdoor play is a great way of inspiring young children to explore and discover a wide range of activities and sports, potentially building our future Olympians and other sporting heroes! There are multiple benefits to remaining fit, with the most obvious being able to maintain a healthy body in order to optimise growth both physically and mentally. From this, you are giving your child the potential for the best future they can wish for.