The importance of play

The American Academy of Pediatrics

Tue 29-Nov-16

Categories: Learning through Play

In the early years, your child’s main way of learning and developing is through play. Play is fun for your child and gives him an opportunity to explore, observe, experiment, solve problems and learn from his mistakes. He’ll need your support and encouragement to do this. But it’s important to try to find a balance between helping him and letting him make mistakes, because finding out for himself about how the world works is a big part of learning.

Play is essential to the development of babies and toddlers, as it contributes to their wellbeing and to a balanced childhood. It also offers parents and carers the perfect opportunity to interact with their children and to teach them essential basic life lessons.

In this article by Kenneth R. Ginsburg, the author talks about the importance of play in establishing strong bonds between parents and their children, as well as in helping children develop into great adults.

However, it has been noticed that children's play time has been considerably reduced recently, therefore this article discusses the impacts this change may have on a child's life. Some of the main factors that contribute to reduced time for play include a hurried lifestyle, changes in family structure and increased attention to academics and enrichment activities at the expense of recess or free child-centered play.

Babies don’t need non-stop interaction. There are moments when they are receptive to interactions and moments when they are not. The challenge for parents is to take advantage of those moments when your child is receptive.

There is no evidence showing that seven hours per day is better than 45 minutes per day. Quality matters more than quantity. And to make the most out of your time together, try to identify those moments your infant is the most receptive.

Under normal conditions mother-infant communication develops this conversational quality: the child puts something out there to which you need to return/react. When the baby doesn’t get anything from the parent, the child becomes distressed.

It’s very important when you’re a parent not to overestimate what you and your child can do in a short period of time. Often parents get frustrated because they are trying to do something with their child and get them somewhere, having a specific view in mind. But it’s also very important not to underestimate what your child can achieve in the long term.

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Why start a playgroup?

  • You would like to transition a mother’s group or new parent’s group to a playgroup

If your local mother’s or new parent’s group is interested in continuing to meet as your children get older, forming a playgroup is a great option.

Often parents will find it difficult to continue to meet at cafes or in similar environments once children are older and more active. Playgroup provides a dedicated space for children to play, allowing parents to continue to connect.

  • There is no local playgroup

If you don’t have a playgroup close to home, why not consider starting one? Not only is this more convenient for local parents, it also helps bring communities together.

  • You would like to focus on a language, culture or particular interest

Playgroup NSW provides a range of special interest playgroups including culturally specific playgroups, grandparent’s playgroups, LGBTI playgroups and disability-focused playgroups. If you’re looking for a playgroup with a special interest or focus, we can help you start one.

Interested in starting a playgroup? Playgroup NSW can help you get started.

There are 10 steps involved in starting a playgroup:

  1. Find interested families
  2. Identify the playgroup’s purpose
  3. Select a day of the week and time
  4. Choose an appropriate location
  5. Identify play activities
  6. Select toys and equipment
  7. Establish policies and guidelines
  8. Join Playgroup NSW
  9. Identify costs
  10. Get started!

To read more about each of these steps, read our guide on How to Start a Playgroup.

Playgroup NSW are here to help you at all stages of the process

Playgroup NSW offers a membership package with insurance coverage designed specifically for playgroups.

Contact us if you:

  • Want to start a playgroup
  • Want to affiliate an existing playgroup with Playgroup NSW
  • Already run a playgroup that has adequate insurance coverage and would like to access some of the services provided by Playgroup NSW

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Bubbles can provide hours of fun and fascination for your baby. If they are too young to blow the bubbles themselves, they will enjoy watching the bubbles float and burst.

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