It's All About Play - A guest post by George Schalter from Educational Kids Games

Today I'm very pleased to have a guest post by George from the excellent blog, Educational Kids Game. George blogs about learning through play and importance of playing with our kids, as well as providing excellent ideas and ways to put this in to practice. George's post today is an excellent reminder about why playing with our kids is not just great for bonding but helpful in their education and development...

It’s all about Play

Most of us have watched kittens and puppies at play. We have even watched large cats with their fierce teeth and even fiercer growls tolerate their young playing, chewing on their ears and pawing their faces.
We know of very competitive people losing happily to their young. Why do adults of the species tolerate this from their young?

It’s probably because we grownups understand that our young are ‘learning via play’. It’s a skill beneficial to all ages of people and it cannot be overemphasized for the young. It’s all about watching and learning to communicate, behave co-operatively in a group and learning our ways.

As children grow, we reduce our play ‘with’ them, forgetting that their formative years are crucial to learning. It’s good for families and extended families which include friends and other relatives to play together and make space for their youngest. As the African proverb goes, It takes a village to raise a child.

What can play teach?

Play and pretend play are both crucial to kids in their early years. Play can improve:
A child’s competence
Gross motor skills
Interaction with peers
Cognitive development
The regulation of emotions
Levels of oxytocin, which help in better social skills
Kids stay relaxed

Kids benefit by playing with peers, sibling and parents. With parents or other caregivers, they tend to play a lot of games where two people are required. Most importantly, kids love playing with their parents – it’s an unexplained joy for the kids. Play with kids could be pretend, instructive, physical or plain old fun.

A two way street

Playing with kids benefits kids, but what is seldom remembered by busy adults is that play benefits the adults too. A few benefits:
Reduced stress levels
Better bonding with children
The hormone oxytocin is released during play, which helps in bonding and it makes adults feel good
Kids can mirror behaviour, on seeing which we can comprehend that we are bordering on bad behaviour (!)

More than anything else, if we have kids, we should engage and have fun with them. Before we know it, they grow up and their interest in peers increases, when interest in parents takes a backseat, in the natural cycle of things.

Easy play activities

Some simple and easily doable activities which can include multiple people are –
Take turns to paint on a large sheet of paper, creating a ‘group painting’ masterpiece
Play phonetic word games (allow children to make up words when they can’t come up with one!)
Count things and call them out – clouds, flowers, petals, fries on a plate
Cook together and make sure the youngest gets a safe chore
Play something online together. A few of our favourites - Fun games, Hidden PicturesPet Games

Never forget, play together. It’s good for all – young and old.

Author Bio
George Schalter loves being a dad. He and his wife share the joys and responsibilities of bringing up their children. As believers of good all round education, they spend a lot of time playing with their children and spending time outdoors. Being the writer in the family, he blogs at

Do you play with your kids? What kinds of things do you like to play together?

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Mystery Case said…
When mine were little (3 under 3) we had our games room set up like a pre school or day care and would often have extras over to play. There was always one or two organised activities each day mainly creative/education type stuff but for the most part, it was the children that set the agenda and the way the day went. How I miss those days.
HandbagMafia said…
We get lots of playing done here, it's good for all of us, ages 2 through to 40!
EssentiallyJess said…
Oh I need to play more. It's been a good long time since I've joined in an imaginary game.
Great post. Yes, I do plenty of play with my four year old, but my two year old seems to miss out or at least doesn't get as much time. I guess that's because she's still having long sleeps during the day and my four year old is also very good at monopolising my time :)
TeganMC said…
We tend to build stuff when we are playing together. I do struggle with the make believe stuff though, but I think that is more about my own insecurities than not having an imagination. Mr 5 does love it when I get down and play games with him though!
Natalie @ Our Parallel Connect said…
I've never been a great parent who plays with their children. I had 4 under 5 and I think I was over anymore kid time. Now my kids are a little older, I interact a lot more.

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