We have determined that especially young parents find it difficult to play with their children, and as they conceive playing as just passing time, they substitute activities such as going on outings, sharing mechanical toys or watching TV for play. Therefore, we have started a seminar to inform parents about the meaning of play for children, and to teach them how to play. In order to better understand why such a seminar is needed, it is necessary to answer the question, “What is play?”
Besides being an activity talked about, shared and created since the creation of Man, play has played a major role in the development of civilizations. The meaning of play, which is experienced in different forms at all ages, is different for the child.
Play is the way for the child to learn things nobody will teach through self experiences. Especially during the preschool period, play takes up most of a child’s time – play is a full time job for the child, so to speak. Adults may perceive this as free time activity, or even a waste of time, but play is a necessity for the child. It is one of the basic components that must be in a child’s life in order for the child to be entertained, to learn, and even to heal the bruises to its spirit.
Play is the most natural learning environment for the child. As it continues to play, an increase in the child’s senses, perceptions and skills can be observed. How high a tower can be built with the cubes it places meticulously on top of each other, or how many red cars can be lined up side by side, may be one of the research subjects of the little scientist on the playground. Most of the time, children do not like being interrupted, or directed, when they are immersed in their play; no matter how trivial it may look, what emerges is their own creation. At the same time, the play environment is an arena where the child can test, and challenge, the limits of its creativity.
On the other hand, maybe the most important function of play is its use by the child as a narrative tool. Lives, events and concepts that may seem simple to an adult, may seem very complicated to a child. In such a situation, the child mixes its own experiences with its imagination, turns it into a play, and tries to find meanings. For example, a child with divorced parents may build separate houses for its dolls, and tries to find a meaning according to its language and its mindset by sometimes separating them, and sometimes bringing them together. Therefore, play is a very effective narrative tool for the child. By assigning them to the characters in its play, the child gives substance to its fears, anxieties, sorrow and excitement. By giving them substance, it shares its emotions, and in sharing the child experiences psychological discharge. It is due to this fact that play can be successfully used as a method of intervention in child psychology and treatment. It is possible to monitor the relationship between a mother and daughter through the child’s play. Or we can track its observations and experiences at school through its play. Children can easily carry over their relationships to their play, and they can even emulate the people they identify with or their heroes, in their play.
Games children play with adults have a different significance, both for the parents and for the children. Many parents complain about getting tired of playing games. Feeling the attention of its parents, and sharing something with them, makes the child happy. For the parent, play time is the perfect time for observation and communication, and it is the most special time that is shared by the parent and child. Therefore, playing with one’s offspring is extremely important for the healthy development of the child.
Success oriented adults of our day have started to see doing “mind-developing” jigsaw puzzles with their children, or reading “educational” books together as the best way to spend joint time, and believe that filling nearly all its time with such activities is the most appropriate way for the child to learn. However, games that will allow the child to display its own creativity and imagination are of vital importance for healthy psychological development, especially at early ages. No other activity will provide the pleasure and excitement of cooking a toy chicken in a toy pan and feeding a doll with it, or going to the other corner of the room to the market to buy some fruit and paying for it.
If you are having trouble playing with your children, if you are confused about how to play or which game to choose, you are invited to join our applied playing seminar. Don’t forget, a game that is played with enjoyment is educational, not only for the child, but also for the parent. Anyway, isn’t life all about choosing the right games and playing well to reach happiness and success?