The play's the thing


The search term ‘educational play’ has had a jaw-dropping increase in hits since the pandemic, ­ up 400 per cent. Experts believe that the number of parents who have turned to the internet for information and advice is hardly surprising. From home schooling to hybrid learning, parents have had a lot to consider.

With this in mind, toy retailer The Kid Collective undertook research into the benefits of play and asked certified coach and mentor Natalie Green to define the importance of play to small children, highlighting how parents can support development.

‘Play is the exploration of life,’ says Natalie. ‘Children play to investigate, make sense of the world and practice skills. It can also indicate if there are any concerns about development.’

Benefits highlighted in the research include:

Social and sharing skills

Children learn how to express themselves to others through body language, facial expression and tone of voice. They discover new language skills to communicate with peers and learn to respond to others with empathy and perspective. Give and take, compromise and working with others are invaluable social skills.

Creativity and imagination

A huge part of creativity is the ability to problem-solve, as children use their imaginations to create solutions and circumvent barriers during play. Using simple toys such as cars, a child creates adventures with an end goal and several steps along the way. Pretend play allows them to experiment with different roles in life. By creating characters and using imagination, they can choose their language and actions, practising emotional skills.

Resilience and emotional regulation

Play can reduce anxiety as children learn to take control of situations and practice scenarios, fostering resilience as they try again. Games often have rules and conventions that a child needs to follow. Through this, they must learn how to cope with frustration, envy and excitement. Play supports children in making sense of their surroundings, coordinating their mental and physical skills and finding their place.

For more on the benefits of learning through play visit:

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