The importance of playtime in childcare

There is something magical about seeing children at play as you witness their smiles, laughter and fascination at what they have just discovered.

Playtime gives children the space to discover their surrounding world in creative and fun ways, exploring and learning.  Play also cultivates a child’s adventurous spirit and fires their imagination.

Importantly playtime is at the core of how a child learns, develops and shapes his/her world.   Solving problems, learning to share and cooperate with other children, and the ability to freely express themselves through play are all factors that contribute positively to a child’s developing sense of self and overall self-worth.

All children in childcare should be part of an early education program that encourages exploration and discovery learning using multi-sensory, hands-on activities with plenty of time scheduled for play.

It’s time to play

Children benefit from many different types of play. Whether with their playmates, childcare friends or favourite adults, we highly recommend lots of time is set aside for spontaneous playtime.

Using a variety of simple, everyday items like banging lids, or filling kitchen containers with sand, helps encourage children to learn in multiple and meaningful ways, and supports a child’s brain development and cognitive functions, including their motor skills.

Playtime helps children with their emotional development, language, creativity and social skills.  Even a simple walk in the outdoors can help stimulate children’s minds and their self-expression.    Play importantly gives children a space in which to relax and/or blow off a little steam.

Through using all their five senses children learn by observing those around them.  They imitate the behaviours language of the things and people they spend the most time around.

When adults set aside quality time for the play, they add immense value to a child’s world.  Quality play time is unlimited in the types of activities adults can share with their children to further support and nurture their child’s learning and development.

Importantly, adults should allow children to grow and develop at their own pace.  Talking with your child frequently helps teach them how everyday things work, like cooking and gardening, which leads them to better understand the more complex world around them.  It also encourages conversation and questions.  As one parent shared recently, prepare yourself for lots and lots of ‘why’s’.

Playtime supports early education

Playtime should ultimately be fun, so we recommend doing activities your child enjoys.   Show children how to do different things then allow them to experiment and discover their own ways to do an activity e.g.; painting with their hands rather than using brushes.

Try some of these favourite fun activities and enjoyable learning experiences;

  • Reading with and to a child. Looking at pictures together helps children understand words.
    • Draw and paint pictures. Create things using dough or clay.  Dress up in fancy dress.  These activities encourage creativity, imagination and expression of feelings.
    • Use building blocks to help a child recognise different shapes and sizes, develop logic and the order of things.
    • Introduce the concept of maths and science using water and sand. A child can see the difference between fluids and solids, and how these things fit into different sized containers.
    • Body movement activities like dancing, running, playing ball games, and climbing all help to develop physical strength, coordination and flexibility skills.
    • Playing a variety of games both active and passive, e.g. sports games or board games, help children learn social skills, teamwork and cooperation.
    • Singing songs and playing simple types of musical instruments encourages listening and hearing abilities, and helps to develop rhythm.

Outdoor play and exploration

Encouraging children to explore the great outdoors through play has a wide range of advantages.  It helps them learn about the diversity of the environment in which they live, the animals they share the world with and natural cycles of the day.

Whether through unstructured physical or creative play, or in learning by example, any type of outdoor activity i.e. the playground slippery slide, building sandcastles on the beach, or kicking a soccer ball on the oval, presents multiple opportunities for a child to learn and develop skills.

Spending time outdoors has numerous positive physical benefits, promotes good health and well-being, and encourages children to develop a life-long love for the outdoors.

You can help support your child’s growth, curiosity and imagination by providing unlimited opportunities to play.

Playtime at Child’s Play ELC

The Child’s Play ELC team are passionate about providing your child with a fun, highly supportive and nurturing environment.  Playtime is an important element of our programs for your child’s healthy development. We actively encourage children in our care to try new things, explore, and discover.

If you have any questions about your child’s care and would like to learn more about our playtime activities at our centres, our team would love to speak with you.