Play serves many functions and is an important part of a child’s development.
A simple board game or game of catch can teach children how to wait and take turns and be cooperative.
Role plays can allow them to experiment with how the world works, they can also work through problems in the safety of their imagination.
Playing with others can help deepen and develop children’s relationships and social interaction, be that with friends or parents, whilst playing on their own can allow a child to develop their own autonomy, independence.
When we use play in therapy at Child and Youth Counselling, we find that play is often a way that a child or young person may choose to communicate what is going on for them- for that reason we often allow children the chance to lead the play- they usually know what they need. It is not about doing it right or getting it wrong- play can be used to communicate, release emotion and even to experiment with how they might try something different.
For some, play is very difficult and learning how to play helps them to trust and engage better with others.
Whether it’s a game of noughts and crosses or a magical role play that takes you to on a flying carpet to fight trolls in the Amazon Jungle, play comes in all types and they all have their place.
Through out the course of this blog we will come back to idea of play to look at different themes around play, from different types of play, to how you might support the child through play.