The Science of Play!
As we celebrate British Science Week and get fully immersed in the WHIZZ, POP & BANG of all our fun-packed activities, which we’ve lined up, we took a moment to think about the science of play. All too often, the value of play is overlooked, and some don’t recognise how fundamental it is to our children’s development.
When children engage in play, or when we as adults lead their play, they aren’t setting out to learn. They are unaware of the objectives and the many benefits that come with it, which makes play so spectacular…
Our world is ever-changing, and through play, we equip children with the skills they need to adapt and change. Children are born scientists and engineers. If you watch your child play, you will observe as they experiment, imagine, work together and overcome emotions. Through play, children learn to navigate their own path, have the freedom to think for themselves, use their imagination to create, test out their own ideas and work together. These are all skills that, as adults, we use every day, and that is why play is so vital for children, as we can’t prepare them for every possible future, but we can equip them with the skills they need to thrive.
Play can develop children’s physical skills by running and jumping or learning a new sport. Research also states that these physical activities are great feel-good activities as they release endorphins. Playing with others allows children to develop their social skills, develop empathy towards others and learn to collaborate. They also learn how to cope with their different emotions and how to help themselves or others in various situations.
During play, children will be exercising their brain cells, which helps to develop complex problem-solving and reasoning skills and improves their memory and concentration. Children also learn to trust their natural curiosity as they are encouraged to explore their creativity and let their imagination run wild – the possibilities are truly endless.
Not only does play enable children to develop in every way, but it also has a positive impact on their mental wellbeing. It can help children to deal with the unknown and become more resilient, more empathetic and more strategic. When children are playing, they are enjoying themselves, and when they enjoy themselves, their brain releases a chemical called Dopamine – this is a crucial part of how we motivate ourselves. Healthy levels of Dopamine are linked to better memory, creativity and mental flexibility, which are crucial skills for living.
So, playing is our superpower… what’s yours?