creating; exploring; active; imagine; social; making;
Playing is about having fun. When the fun stops then it isn't play any longer - it may even be work!
So how do we play?
Types of play
||Exploring. As soon as a baby can move around he or she is off exploring the world by looking, touching, tasting, smelling and listening.|
||Physical. This is the kind of play where you are moving around - jumping, running, throwing, catching etc. |
||Creating. Painting, drawing, building, and writing your own stories are some ways of being creative.|
||Imagining. Have you seen little kids growling like a bear, playing shops, being a kitten? They are pretending to be something or someone else.|
||Manipulating. This is the kind of play where the eyes, brain and hands get better at working together.|
||Socialising. Where kids learn how to play together. |
Why playing is important
Kids who are playing are busy finding out about themselves and their world. They are busy and more likely to be happy than bored.
Playing at "schools"," hospitals", "dentists" or other things which might be a bit scary help kids to deal with these situations when they come up.
Hammering, hitting, kicking, running and jumping are good ways of learning to control angry feelings. Better to kick or hit a ball than a person.
Playing with other kids teaches about sharing, respect, following rules, helping each other and working together. It also helps kids to be able to mix with others and realise that everyone has rights and responsibilities in a group.
While kids are playing with others they are learning lots of different skills.
When they are playing alone they are learning to solve problems, improve skills and how to be comfortable being alone and busy.
This looks like someone who is fully into what they are doing.
A kid can play alone, play music, computer games, practise sports skills, writing, painting, drawing or dozens of other things which involve learning and using imagination.
Playing in a group looks like everyone working together, sharing ideas, taking turns, using imagination and skills and respecting each other's differences.
Not so good play
||Some kids become stuck on one type of play, either alone or with friends. |
||Some kids find it hard to play alone or to keep themselves amused and want attention all the time from other kids or adults.
||Some kids' play is all about violent things happening.|
||Some kids like to hurt others. |
||Some kids are never willing to share or follow the rules.|
||Some kids spend most of their free time alone or 'plugged into' games, music, phones, etc and miss out on being part of the world around them. If you are one of them, check out the 'What's new' archive for 'What are you missing?'.|
What kids say
- "I love playing lacrosse with my team and I love playing WOW on my computer when I have time." Jazz
- "My favourite game on the computer is Battlefield 2, where the maximum players is 64, so all your friends can join in." Nick
- "By myself I like to play Wii, with others I like to play outside games and DS multiplayer games on my computer." Seth
- "I like to play soccer and other sports with my friends. I don't like people cheating or not listening to the rules. You also have to try new games not play the same game every time." Yasmin
- "I like drawing and painting and going to my friend's house to play chasey."
- "I like to read and write stories, play on the computer, shoot goals, listen to music and play my DS. I play netball with my team, play board games, chasey, and read books with my brother." Chelsea
- "I like throwing a ball with friends at recess and lunch. Alone I like reading, drawing and listening to music." Georgia
- "I play sport with friends and enjoy Electronics by myself." Gabrielle
- "I like playing lots of team sports. I think they're great because you become more cooperative." Hugh
- "I play the saxophone and piano, read and play on my computer at home." Mitchell
- "When I am bored I ask mum if I can go to the park and kick a football." Morgan
Dr Kate says
Kids need time to play alone and time to play with others. Sometimes it's good to just read and lose yourself in a story while other times you want to get outside with a group of others and play together.
Nowadays there are so many things for a kid to do that it can be hard to find the time to just…play.
It is even harder for adults, so make the most of your playtime while you're a kid!
We've provided this information to help you to understand important things about staying healthy and happy. However, if you feel sick or unhappy, it is important to tell your mum or dad, a teacher or another grown-up.