Kids love to play, and you can not stop them from playing. Play is all about having fun and passing the time so your kids do not get bored, but you can convert the play into a productive activity. As a parent, you can encourage your kids to play with different things because such an activity will boost their cognitive and motor skills. Moreover, it can educate ethics and self-awareness.
Playing is an essential part of the kids' life because it is solely a source for them to explore the world, to learn how things work, and to discover why things happen.
- Reasons Not To Stop Kids From Playing.
- 6 Essential Stages of Plays for Kids’ Development.
- Unoccupied Play (birth - 3 months).
- Solitary Play (3 months - 2.5 years).
- Onlooker Play (2.5 - 3.5 years).
- Parallel Play (3.5 - 4 years).
- Associative Play (4 - 4.5 years).
- Cooperative Play (4.5 years and up).
- Ending Words.
Reasons Not To Stop Kids From Playing
If you have a toddler or a preschooler, you must allow them to get engaged in play. The American Academy of Pediatric research demonstrates that suitable play with parents is only a way to enhance the social-emotional, cognitive, language, and self-regulation skills in the kids.
When children play in safe and secure surroundings, it helps them think out of the box. Most kids enjoy playing with their friends and it increases their communication skills.
The Agha Khan University’s Department of Professional Development Centre reports that early age is most important for boosting children thinking, emotional, relation and physical development.
Playing depends on the interest of kids. Some children love to play indoor games and some love to play outdoors. Most games rely on the age group of the kids. Numerous younger children change their play day by day.
Also Read: 10 Best Indoor Game Ideas For Kids
6 Essential Stages of Plays for Kids’ Development
There are different types of plays in which kids gradually become involved in their early ages.
Mildred Parten, a sociology professor, categorised the types of play for children that are still cited in research as Parten’s Stages of Play today. She defined play as a social interaction and concluded that once a child learn to play they modify it by using different variations and combinations of acts.
Here we describe the list of plays and how they change with the age of the baby. Every phase educates children about some new things. These enhance their body development and boost kids' creativity.
Unoccupied Play (birth - 3 months)
The ideal play where parents don't have to do much. Babies observe what is happening around them, they try to kick, hold their feet or move their hands, feet, arms, legs, etc. in unoccupied play. Infants are only learning body movement in the unoccupied play. You feel like they are doing nothing, but they are actually playing. And it is a major milestone that makes their muscles strong for further playing activities.
Ideas To Promote Unoccupied Play
Most of the time, you don't have to do anything because babies play alone on their own. However, you can provide them with toys for unoccupied play.
- Play Mat for Babies
- Comfort Object
Also Read: New Parents Checklist – What Should You Buy Before Baby Arrives
Solitary Play (3 months - 2.5 years)
As you can guess from the term solitary, in this category of play a baby plays alone with toys. Solitary play is also known as an independent play. In between the age of 3 months to 2.5 years, infants and toddlers don't want to interact with other children; they love their own company and space. Babies prefer play alone. In solitary play, they watch their surroundings or want to touch them and feel those colourful things. Independent play is actually an advanced version of unoccupied play in which kids touch and explore their surroundings. This enhances their curiosity and problem solving skills.
Ideas To Promote Solitary Play
The simple procedure to engage kids in solitary play is to give them soft stuffed toys or blocks and let them play independently. Do not irritate them while playing. Let them explore how things work and explore their creative side.
- Kick & Play Piano Mat
- Interactive talking & Dancing Cactus
- Building Blocks
Also Read: Unstructured Play: Why is it Important for Kids?
Onlooker Play (2.5 - 3.5 years)
There is a time when you ask your kid to play with the other kids or make some friends. However, they prefer to observe and watch rather than joining them. A kid will see others playing and may follow them or simply watch without taking part; it is called onlooker play. Children pick up new vocabulary and ideas through onlooker play. They watch how others interact, play with toys, and resolve problems before doing these things for oneself.
Ideas To Promote Onlooker Play
You can participate in safe and secure play with children. Invite young children to observe you play a game. Talk to them about what you are doing while teaching them how to play with various toys. You can get started by engaging in easy games or exercises and encourage them to mirror your actions.
- Magnetic Tiles
- Animal Figurines
Also Read: A Parental Guide to 12 Different Kinds of Toys
Parallel Play (3.5 - 4 years)
Babies will play close to each other in parallel play, but they rarely engage in direct interaction. Even though they are playing with their own toys and doing their own things, they are aware of one another's existence. They occasionally exchange looks or remarks about what the other baby is doing, but they hardly ever engage in cooperative play. This kind of play is typical for children, who are typically between the ages of 2 and 4, and is recognized as a natural and regular part of their development.
Ideas To Promote Parallel Play
Allow the kid to play independently and encourage creative play. Avoid managing or controlling their play unnecessarily. To maintain an engaging and stimulating play environment for the youngster, occasionally introduce new toys.
- Painting with Projector Kit
- Play Dough
Also Read: Why is Painting and Drawing Good for Kids?
Associative Play (4 - 4.5 years)
This is the more advanced phase of parallel play; kids may play side by side, but not generally together. As toddlers focus on their friends and their activities, associative play includes a higher level of social awareness and engagement. Children can acquire social skills, tolerance, and how to accept the other baby's company through associative play.
Ideas To Promote Associative Play
Supply kids with a variety of toys that will inspire them to participate in their own play and to observe others. Show better behavior for kids by playing politely and sharing with others.
- Arts & Crafts Supplies
- Play Kitchen Set
- Character Costumes & Accessories
Also Read: How to Engage Babies and Toddlers into Creative Play - Tips, Ideas, and Activities
Cooperative Play (4.5 years and up)
Children are involved in a type of activity where they work to attain a common goal. This can include participation, mutual cooperation, and helping one another in achieving the goal. Children can learn crucial social skills, including communication, teamwork, and problem-solving through cooperative play.
Ideas To Promote Associative Play
Encourage youngsters to play in small groups while showing them how to respect one another's thoughts, emotions, and contributions. You can arrange contests and activities that educate cooperation and teamwork.
- Board Games
- Doctor-Patient Set
Also Read: How Role Playing Benefits in Child Development?
Play is a dynamic and ever-changing activity that evolves as kids mature and grow. While motivating and supporting chances for play, parents should keep in mind that children need their own time and space to develop these abilities, which they will do on their own. It's important to keep in mind that not all children will progress through these stages at the same time. Some children may move through the stages more fast or more slowly than others. However, these stages offer a broad structure for understanding how children's play evolves.