7 Types of Play Kids Need (LEARNING THROUGH PLAY)


– In this video, you’re
gonna learn all about different types of play and
why each of these types of play is crucial for our children. Stick with me until the end so I can share a resource
with you where you can start to reclaim these types
of play in your own home and watch your children
flourish and thrive. If you wanna love parenting
and parent from love, slam on that subscribe button. Don’t forget to hit the notification bell so that you’re sure to be told every time I drop a new episode on Mondays. The Parenting Junkie. Hi, I’m Avital. I’m a mindful parenting coach. I’m the mother of four and
I’ve been truly blessed to be helping thousands of
parents doing what I love most, talking about presence, peace and play. In today’s video, I’m
gonna outline for you exactly the importance of independent play and the types of play
that you wanna make sure your child is getting. So if you’re ready to jump in, hit that like button and let’s get going. Number one, developing skills. Children develop skills through play. We often in our culture tragically think that there is work, meaningful
work, and then there is play, and play is what you do when
you’re done with all your work. And this is such a deep misunderstanding of how children learn, of
how they develop skills. Let me ask you something: have you ever seen a baby learn to walk? Let me know if the comments below if you’ve witnessed a
baby learning to walk. Did they need to be told to learn to walk? Did they need gold stars or textbooks or rewards or punishments and bribes if they weren’t going to learn to walk? Or were they so driven
and curious and interested to explore by themselves to learn to walk? Chances are that if the baby
is developing in a healthy way, they’re going to be unstoppable in their quest to learn how to walk. And that’s not to say that they
might not need some support and that they don’t need
the right environments. They absolutely do, but the
point is that they are hardwired to pick up the skills that are relevant in their culture and in their species. Humans walk and so children learn that, same as learning language. Children learn language naturally. Now they learn it through play, through testing things out, through peek-a-boo games
and through copying games and through sing song, et cetera. This is how children develop skills and if you let children
play for hours on end every single day, you will watch them develop the most amazing
skills within their culture. They’ll learn how to use
the tools and utensils that we use in this culture. They’ll learn how to
communicate different things. They’ll learn how to use their bodies in the way that adults
do in their culture. They’ll learn how to walk,
skip, run, hop, jump, turn upside down, flip around, et cetera. They’ll learn so many new skills including reading and writing, including mathematical skills. If you read the research about
children who play freely, you will find that they
learn all about number sense, all about language, just through play. And so free play, unstructured play is so crucial in this regard. It is the place that children
develop and learn new skills. Number two, children in
play learn to take risks. They learn how to go to the
edge of their comfort zone in any area, be it physical,
emotional, academic or social, they learn how to just take themselves up over the threshold of
discomfort to the place where they can’t quite do that thing and then they master it
by visiting that edge. Listen, this is natural in
all young cubs essentially, all small animals, young animals. If you watch mountain goats or monkeys, what you will see is
that the young children are always swinging on a tree that’s just slightly out of their reach, just slightly too hard, or climbing up a mountian
that’s slightly too difficult for them and this is
how they master skills. Number one, right, developing skills because they take risks. They push themselves naturally. And what do we do in our culture? We come in and push them ourselves and then they protect themselves
and they get defensive and they say, “No, I don’t
want to learn to read. “I don’t want to climb
the stairs or whatever “because you’re pushing me.” But when we don’t push
them, what we see is that children naturally
challenge themselves. They naturally push themselves. And you’ll see this in
the most classic games. For example, the game of catch. Why do children like to
play catch or hide and seek? Have you ever asked yourself this? Why is this a universal
game that children enjoy? Well the reason is because
they want to put themselves in places where they have
to stretch their skills, where they’re a little
bit in danger, right? That’s the point of play often is to simulate an adult reality such as being chased or
such as getting lost. These are situations that
are realities for humans and so learning how to actually
handle those situations through a constant simulator
throughout childhood where they’re able to pretend but still experience that exhilaration. Have you played catch recently? You really get nervous,
you really run away, you really experience all
of the same neuronal firings that you would in a real chase except it’s without the
real price that you may pay, right, if you were chased by a lion. If you’re chased by your friends, you are able to practice
all of those skills, to learn about risk-taking,
to expand your edge to push past that point of
this comfort to the next level so you can run faster and hide smarter, but you learn to do so
in a safe environment and that is so important for play. And children will do
that in any area of life, be it catch or hide and seek or be it caring for a dolly
or fighting with a friend. That’s what they’ll do through play. They will push themselves to take risks. They’ll climb a little higher. They’ll do something that’s a
little bit too hard for them. And so it’s so important
to allow free play so that they can explore those risks and take those risks
in a safe environment. Number three is scientific exploration. Listen, ironically, all of us parents who want our children to turn
out like Albert Einstein, perhaps the most famous
scientist of all time, buy CDs like Baby Einstein
and play music for them and try to enrich them
and try to teach them and push them and control
them and mold them and expose them to science
as much as possible, not realizing that Albert Einstein himself was a master of play. He said that play is the
highest form of research. And in fact, for him, all
of his physics was play. It was just so fascinating. It was just following his
curiosity like a child. Children are born scientists. They’re born ready to
explore and experiment. They will pull the cup,
they will push things over, they will mix things, touch things, grab things, taste things. They want to see, they want to look, they wanna stop on the side of the road and stare at the snail and
we are hurrying them along and saying, “Don’t touch
that, don’t spill that, “why are you doing that,
why are you making a mess?” Taking it personally,
thinking it’s in a front, thinking that they are too slow
or too fast or too curious. That is the scientific
exploration at work in childhood and it’s such a beautiful thing to preserve as much as possible. Children are naturally
curious about the world. They’re asking why,
they’re interested to see. Now is it convenient? No, but raising children
is not convenient. Don’t do it if you want a convenient life. As Alfie Conn says,
you’re probably better off raising tropical fish because
children are inconvenient. They need a lot of interaction
and they want answers and they wanna go at their own pace and they wanna be able
to taste, touch and smell and get their hands and
everything else dirty. That’s the power of
scientific exploration. And so this is sensory play at its finest. It’s mixing colors, it’s
measuring things out with sand or water or beans. Allowing our children to
be scientific explorers is going to set that stage,
going to really ground them in their curiosity and set them
up for a lifelong curiosity which is such a beautiful thing. The next one is the ability
to construct worlds. In play, children can be the masters, the directors of their own worlds. It’s an empowering place
where they can create a Lego world, a Barbie
world, a Play-Doh world, whatever it is they’re
using, sticks and stones, and they get to be the directors, they get to say what’s
going on in that world, they get to act out, plan, design and be the producers of their own show. They get to feel the
power of manifestation, something that all of us
adults want to do, right? We want to create our own lives, a business and a life that
we love as Marie Forleo says. We wanna create a world,
a home, a community, a school system, a health care system, whatever your passion project
is that reflects our values. Children are doing that. They’re already in that place. They don’t have those voices
in their heads that say, “Who are you to change the world? “Who are you to design the world? “Who are you to say how it should look?” No, they know that they
are powerful creators and they’re there to create. They create their little worlds and they enact what they wanna see in it. Constructing worlds, the design
mind, the mind that says, “I can create in the image
that I have in my head, “I can put it out into
the world, out on paper.” You know, it’s really amazing. It’s artistic expression
but it’s also architectural. It’s also value-based. It’s based on how I want
to create the world, how I want the world to look. Number five is attunement to your body. Children learn to attune to the schemas, the urges that they have. Through play, through
free, unstructured play, explore important schemas. And these are just urges that they have. I have a video all about schemas if you wanna go into it deeper, but things like the
urge to transport things from one to the other, to hide
things, to envelop things, to test trajectory, to test speed, to feel different textures, et cetera. All of the different body
urges that we might have, children know how to attune
to their body through play. They learn how to attune to their body when they are free to play, they aren’t sitting still in
a chair and writing at a desk. When they are free to play,
they’re running around, they’re exerting themselves. They actually push themselves
into workout level sweats naturally because they
follow their bodies’ needs, they’re in touch with the fact
that now I need to stretch and now I need to run and now
I need to bare some weight and now I need to rest
and now I wanna sprawl out on the floor and lay down. Children attune to
their body through play, which is something that we quietly dampen and quieten within them. “No, you can’t run around now. “Now you have to sit still.” That’s what we adults tell them. And then we wonder why
we all have backaches, why we all are overweight,
because we’ve lost that childlike attunement to our bodies
and to our bodies’ needs. Imagine a world where
we didn’t tell children to sit down and be quiet, where
we told them that whatever their body wants to do,
they should be doing, they should be following,
they should be moving, they should be flowing
with their bodies’ needs. Imagine how many health
ailments we could prevent if children maintained that attunement with their body through play. Number six is artistic expression. We mentioned this on constructing worlds, but artistic expression goes much further than just building worlds, it goes into emotional expression as well. Children express their fears, their anger, their joy through art. When we show them a blank piece of paper, they aren’t overwhelmed,
they know what to do. They can express themselves,
they can draw, they can paint, they can sing, they can dance. Children let things out,
they process big emotions just as you and I would
through dance or through song or whatever it is naturally
when they’re allowed. But then we say, “Well,
no, you’re not drawing “that correctly, you’re
not coloring in the lines, “you’re not dancing just right. “Let me sign you up to a class, “let me teach you how to do it well.” Completely missing the
point that this child is expressing what’s within them. They understand that life
is a dance worth dancing and that they don’t have to have ballet classes to do it well. Number seven and perhaps my
favorite aspect of play is pretend play, emotional and
social processing through play. When children play socially
together or even on their own, they act out their lives
and they can become whoever they wanna become. They put on a cape and
they’re a superhero. They hold a baby and they’re a mother. They work at a computer and
they’re suddenly the boss. Children can take on different identities and they know what we
adults have forgotten which is that all of us are ever-changing. All of us can become
whoever we wanna become just by pretending. They know how to fake
it ’til they make it. They know how to step into
different perspectives and this is how they
naturally develop empathy and social skills because
they learn what it’s like to be a mom by pretending to be a mom and to be a teacher by being the teacher. And they process that fear of
mommy leaving them at school by leaving mommy in the game. They suddenly take on different roles, test out different perspectives in a way that we adults
could really learn from. This type of pretend play is
crucial to emotional health. It’s crucial to social development. And rather than thinking
of it as leftovers as what you should do when
you’re done with your homework, we should be prioritizing
this type of play as the top priority for
our children’s lives. So if this was helpful for you, give me a love in the comments below and I would love to hear
which of these categories is something that you wanna
work on with your child, that you wanna make more space for. I don’t mean work on by
telling them to do it, I mean allowing it to develop. Is it constructing
worlds or pretended play, is it attuning to their bodies and moving, is it artistic expression? What of these are most pressing for you and most interesting for you and you’re most curious about
developing more in your life? One of the best ways and I
promise I’d give you a resource to start reclaiming play in
your home is to declutter, simplify your environment
and set up your play zones. The way to do this is to download my free childhood design guide over at theparentingjunkie.com/design
and work through it. It’s easy. In fact, it’s called 10 Easy
Steps to Transform Your Home into a Play-Inducing Haven. It’s my gift to you and I
very much hope you will use it and let me know how it goes. If you would like to
be part of a community of like-minded parents,
head on over to Facebook and join my free group,
Love Parenting with Avital. We would absolutely love to have you and your insights in there. If this was helpful for
you, I would love it if you’d slam on that
like button and share it with anyone else who has
young children at home and you think would benefit
from reclaiming play or with teachers or
caregivers who you know who are looking after young children and need some inspiration. Now did you know that I’ve launched a Parenting Junkie podcast? I would absolutely love
to have you over there. It’s separate content from what
goes on over here on YouTube and you can subscribe on any of your favorite podcast platforms. Just look for The Parenting Junkie Show and don’t forget to leave me
your review and your rating. I love to hear those. Thank you. I’m also on Instagram at Parenting Junkie and if you were to snap a
picture of your child at play and hashtag Parenting Junkie so I can get the joy of seeing
your child immersed in play, that would just make my day. Now don’t forget to subscribe. Hit that notification bell because next week, here’s what’s coming. Today I’m gonna outline
10 things that people who want to be peaceful parents, respectful, gentle, conscious parents should try to avoid saying
and what we can say instead.

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