Playing with your child is important for their development and also to aid in building strong bonds between you.
Young kids are absolute sponges for learning. They are constantly taking in new knowledge, developing skills, and realising their place in the world. As parents, our job is to nurture them and guide them as they grow – especially as they tend to look to their parents as their main role models.
Kids learn from their play. So while kicking a ball around with them, flying a kite together, crafting, or building together with LEGO, may seem like a frivolous venture, it really does help to develop their learning. Shared play can also nurture strong bonds between you and your child.
Building the bond
One of the important things to remember when you’re playing with your child is that this is THEIR world. So get down to their level – sit at the kid’s craft table, or plonk yourself on the floor with their LEGO bricks – and they will be more likely to converse with you and involve you in their play than if you’re hovering above them. This also helps you to make eye contact with them which promotes closeness and trust.
Let your child take control by playing what they want to play. Obviously there’s a limit to how many times you can play Go Fish without wanting to jump off the imaginary pier, but try and let your child guide the playtime so you can understand their interests. Suggestions of how to extend their play are great, as is gentle persuasion to perhaps try a different activity once they have exhausted their learning opportunities for the day with one thing. When role playing or telling stories through play, you can take turns at choosing characters or plot points so that they feel you are both part of the story.
Playfulness (ie, being that silly parent!), can help to encourage co-operation and just makes things more fun!
“When parents observe their children in play or join with them in child-driven play, they are given a unique opportunity to see the world from their child’s vantage point as the child navigates a world perfectly created just to fit his or her needs.”
One of the most popular ways for parents and kids to play together is through building and creating with LEGO. Play benefits of LEGO can include:
- Divergent thinking
- Logical reasoning
- Recalling and creating stories
- Visual perception
- Motor development
- Spatial orientation
Maths & Science:
- Balance and gravity
- Cause and effect
Written by Julie Scanlon for LEGO
Julie is Editor for Kidspot NZ and our MVP. Her hobbies include laughing uncontrollably at her own jokes, annoying her family by asking questions about movie plots, and never taking anything too seriously. She speaks a little Spanish and a lot of Yorkshire.
Favourite motto to live by: “It ain’t nothing but a thing”