The best advice on children's products.
30 years of experience, honesty and professional evaluation of play, learning, toys and fun.

  Register   Help
    Awards     Blog     Books     Resources

Blogs

Authors   Comments   New

Dr. Toy on the Power of Play ©

Date

  Thu 12 Oct 2017

Tags

  power of play, play time, group play, age range, brain, mind, development, pq, self-discovery, feedback

Abstract

In play, children gain mastery over themselves and learn their own power in relationships with others. They grasp social values such as biases and responsibilities. They learn to communicate better. They absorb concepts like making judgments. All children express a unique style of play and the ways they play when they are young reflect how they will deal with others during later life.

Content

Dr. Toy on the Power of Play ©
Excerpt from Dr. Toy's Smart Play/Smart Toys

By
Stevanne Auerbach, PhD

Play is a natural phenomenon. Before you examine the toys to be used by your young one, it helps if you understand the principles of play. Of particular importance is understanding that play enriches both sides of the brain-right and left hemispheres. Thus, the underlying principle of play, smart play, is that the child gathers essential experiences necessary for fullest mental development.

As infants grow they play with innumerable things around them; their hands, toes, and sunbeams coming in through the window. At the same time they discover sounds; they babble and talk to themselves; they become conscious of the separate parts of their bodies; they make distinctions in color, light, and sound.

How children interact with people and elements in their environment is revealing. We should stand back and observe them. As we watch them play, we come to know their play process, the ways they get frustrated, their tolerance levels, and their curiosity and creative responses.

We want to be sure our children play with others of different ages and abilities so they can experience a full range of social interaction: patience, empathy, compassion, support, and honesty. The way they play affects how they feel about themselves.

A child plays alone, with other children, and with adults, and each style teaches something different. Children help each other achieve increased degrees of sophistication. For example, children learn from other children by talking with and watching one another, by trying new scenarios, and exchanging information, even fantasies.

In the earliest stages, little ones play merely in proximity to others without being involved with them. They play alone and find satisfying activities for themselves. As they grow, they learn to share toys, give them away, and fight over them.

When children enter nursery schools, child-care programs, parent cooperatives, or have visits away from home, they are introduced to new children, different toys and playthings, and other styles of playing. As they discover how to handle these situations, children strengthen their confidence and gain new maturity.

Power of Play

Because of the power of play, you must understand the child's need to explore, to meet and play with other children, and you must try not to interfere with the child's activity. Instead, serve as the child's "Play Guide"-observe, and enhance, the child's experiences.

When playtime is ending, for example, it is important to give children enough advance notice so they can have time to bring the activity to a satisfying close. If we respect our children's playtime, they are almost always more cooperative when they must change gears to eat, nap, or go elsewhere.

In play, children gain mastery over themselves and learn their own power in relationships with others. They grasp social values such as biases and responsibilities. They learn to communicate better. They absorb concepts like making judgments. All children express a unique style of play and the ways they play when they are young reflect how they will deal with others during later life.

Allow your child to select his or her own form of play, as choices are important for individual growth. Rigid rules can be an obstacle to natural self-expression. As a parent and "Play Guide," honor your offspring's early learning domain. Inherent to this is providing appropriate skill-building toys.

Advantages of Play

Play experiences help the child to:
Gain an understanding of the world.
Act productively with other children and adults.
Get and hold the attention of others in a suitable way.
Enhance the ability to concentrate, an essential skill before he begins school.
Expand his natural curiosity, whet his ability to solve problems, and foster spontaneity.

These are each central components of mastering the learning process.

When children enjoy what they are doing (provided what they are doing is positive behavior), there is less need for your discipline or worry. If they are having fun, children can play with blocks, construct buildings, or play with other children in mutual cooperative activities for long periods of time.

Adults sometimes forget the importance of play. Through their play, children tell us what they are thinking and how they are feeling. If there are problems, their play will reveal them. You can better understand your child if you listen and watch your child at play.##

For more play information, see Dr. Toy's Smart Play/Smart Toys (4th edition-paper and ebook) website, Dr. Toy's Guide www.drtoy.com, for more info on play and toys, suggested toys and play products, and Dr. Toy's Archive of Articles on Play on The Huffington Post website-www.huffingtonpost.com/stevanne-a  uerbach-phd/

© 2017 Stevanne Auerbach, PhD/Dr. Toy, San Francisco, CA.