Indoor Activities: How Games and Fun Help Kids Thrive

More than just having fun, play is an earnest business when it comes to children’s development and health. From pat-a-cake and hopscotch to peek-a-boo and hide-and-seek, the different kinds of play help enrich children’s brain, life, and body in essential ways.

The AAP or the American Academy of Pediatrics report explains why and how playing with peers, parents, and siblings is the key to building a thriving body, social bond, and brain – all crucial in today’s world. According to research, play can improve a child’s ability to plan, get along with their peers, organize, and regulate their emotions. Not only that, it helps with math, social skills, and language, even helps them cope with stress.

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A prescription for fun

Despite all the benefits, statistics will show you that the amount of time a child gets to do this kind of activity is declining for years, even decades. Tightly structured school and family schedules, parents working outside of their home, decreasing safe areas to have fun, as well as rising screen time and media use, are some of the reasons why kids are starting to have a decrease in playtime.

For example, according to research, the average pre-school kids watch at least four hours of television every day. To help keep these activities a significant part of every kid’s childhood, pediatricians can start writing a prescription for play at every kid visit through age two. Pediatricians can also advise parents to look for an excellent pre-school or child care programs that include an excellent playful approach in their program.

Age-specific schemes for playful learning

Learning is fueled by tapping into children’s natural drive to play, instead of outside factors like test numbers and scores. As they engage and happily discover the world, kids gain a lot of advanced skills that call for innovation and teamwork.

Birth to six months

The American Academy of Pediatrics encourages every parent to use this type of activity to help meet children’s developmental and health milestones starting from birth. Listed below are some examples of ways to do this:

Playful learning can begin when the baby has their first smile. Responding to other person’s smile is a form of play that can teach a baby an important socio-emotional skill.

Imitate the baby babbles, and coos and have a back-and-forth conversation using the baby’s sound as a cue.

Show them interesting objects like brightly colored toys. Let them bring safe toys in their mouth to experience and explore new textures.

Place them in different positions so that they can see the world around them from different angles.

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Seven to twelve months

Make sure that they have a safe environment to explore and crawl.

Allow them to learn that their actions have severe effects on their well-being – for example, when they drop toys and fall to the ground. Put toys within their reach so they can take them out and play with it.

Use mirrors to show the kid their different facial expressions.

Play physical activities like peek-a-boo to help them develop their socio-emotional skill.

One to three years

When looking for child care and pre-school, look for those that include an unstructured playtime for your child. Playful learning, where kids take the lead and follow their curiosity, needs to be their primary focus of excellent-quality early education.

Give kids blocks, wooden spoon, puzzles, and empty containers. Inexpensive and straightforward objects are some of the best ways to help support their creativity. You need to remember that it is caregivers’ and parents’ attention and presence that help enrich kids – not the fancy electronic gadget that they enjoyed playing.

Give your kid opportunities to play with other kids. It is a great way to try a parent-supervised play date.

Help them explore their bodies through various movements. For example, jumping, standing on one leg, and walking.

Provide a lot of opportunities for pretend play. For example, tea time or pretending to drink tea out of a teacup or offering them toys that enable make-believe play.

Read them stories regularly. Encourage make-believe activities that are based on the stories you told them.

Play rhythms and sing songs so that kids can learn and join in the activity, Start introducing any age-appropriate games.

Try introducing and visiting leisure facilities like the world of Kidtropolis for more focused physical activities.

Four to six years

Provide excellent opportunities for the kid to dance and sing.

Tell age-appropriate stories and ask them questions about what they remember.

Give children space and time to act out make-believe scenes, activities, and roles.

Allow children to move between pretending games and reality – for example, helping with household chores and playing house.

Schedule time to interact with other kids to practice building friendships and socializing.

Encourage the child to try different movements in a safe environment – for example, swinging, doing somersaults, climbing, and hopping.

Limit gadget or screen time to a healthy level. Age-appropriate media can provide a lot of benefits for older children, especially if you play and watch with them. But play and real-time social interaction are much better for kids compared to learning through digital media.

Encourage the school to offer playful learning and recess approaches in addition to structured learning approaches like worksheets, memorization, and reading.

Playtime as a stress buster

In addition, to help kids boost their development and health, playtime can help to build stable, nurturing, and safe relationships that buffer against stress and help develop socio-emotional resilience. The mutual happiness and one-on-one interaction that is happening during playtime can manage stress response, according to studies.

According to studies, three to four-year-old children worried about entering the school were two times more like to feel more relaxed and less stressed when allowed to have 15-minute play time, compared to kids who are only listening to stories.

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