Most of us can remember spending hours in our childhoods playing games of make believe, building cubby houses out of whatever we could scavenge and pretending to be all sorts of characters.
Today this is not necessarily the norm and there is growing concern about the lack of physical activity in our communities. There appears to be an over reliance on organised activities for young children and the sweeping force of technology has changed the dynamic of play and how children spend their time.
It is vital that we provide opportunities for children to explore their world through imaginative play. All they need is time, space and minimal props. The benefits are endless.
Young children develop essential language skills by exploring real (and not so real) characters and by practicing the art of communication time and time again through play experience. As children role play they learn about themselves and their world in a safe and non-confronting way.
With hectic family schedules becoming increasingly more common, children are less likely to have the time or space for their imagination to run free. Playgroup may just be the place where families can slow down for a couple of hours and be engaged in activities that stimulate creativity.
Do not be afraid to take imaginative play outdoors and allow nature to be the stage of children’s creative pursuits. A cubby house among the bushes with plenty of dress-ups to choose from provides children with a secret place to explore a wonderful world of make believe. By moving children’s play outside, we maximise the potential for physical movement coming into their games of fantasy.
Children need the freedom to wander and wonder- making time to run free is an important part of learning, growth and enjoyment.