One my favorite childhood memories is hauling blankets, dishes, and dolls out into my backyard where I forced my little brother to play house under the only big tree in my yard. I especially liked doing this in the spring when the leaves were budding. I would pick them and “cook” with them. My dad, a tree lover, was not a fan of cooking the buds.
Through creative and dramatic play children develop physical, mental, and emotional strength. It helps with coordination, fine and gross motor skills. It grows physical strength and stamina. It is a good way to practice problem solving skills, decision making and helps develop risk awareness and judgement. It develops a child’s sense of self and autonomous thinking. It develops independence. It helps children to work with groups, learn to share, and how to resolve conflict. It helps them learn how to communicate, negotiate and build relationships. It develops confidence and resilience.
Over the last two decades the amount of time children spend playing has decreased significantly. Children are also showing signs of higher levels of stress, anxiety and depression. Allowing and encouraging play in children is incredibly important.
Allow your children plenty of time for unscheduled/unstructured creativity and play. Play WITH your children. In a stressed out world, crawling into a blanket fort and going on an adventure might be good for more than just your child!