We all know that children play but do we know the importance of play? Why do we encourage children to play?
For my family play takes on a different role. Instead of the usual imaginative and role play that most children experience, my children play differently as they have autism. Instead they re-enact scenarios of the day, their time at school etc. They can’t understand that the floor can suddenly become a raging river to them it doesn’t make sense as it’s not logical. If however, you say to them do you remember the programme where we saw the river they can relate to this and its only now they can visualise the floor as a raging river
Children with autism work on the principle of visual and logic play. We still play such games as shops but in a different way, like we name the shop such as Tesco, Asda etc. Play is an integral part of child’s development. Not only does it open them up to a new world, new senses. It teaches them lessons that can help them in life whilst they are having fun.
Even the simplest game, activity allows the child to learn. Whether it be turn taking or dealing with play money in a game of shops its all learning. I have used play as a social story for children to show them that being at school for the first time isn’t as daunting as they thought. They also had play therapy to help them understand concepts of under and over, the importance of turn taking, to help them overcome sensory issues whilst having fun.
So next time you child asks you to play, take 5 minutes and be a child again. You never know you might learn something as well. It’s time to see the world through the eyes of a child and make time to play.
Make Time To Play is a campaign created by British Toy and Hobby Association’s Make Time 2 Play Campaign