The Power of Play
March 19, 2019
Do you believe in the power of play? According to the Canadian Public Health Association (CPHA) “evidence shows that play enables factors that support good mental health and is important to children’s overall wellbeing.”
Our focus this month is on taking a break to play. We believe in the power of play for kids and their development. Free to Grow offers kids and youth the opportunity to play, which supports their physical, emotional and mental wellbeing.
We wanted to share with you 5 of the CPHA’s findings on the benefits of taking a break to play:
- It promotes positive feelings. When children engage in unstructured play, they report feeling joy, thrill and competence.
- It builds resilience. When children experience the uncertainty of challenging or risky play, they can develop emotional reactions, physical capabilities and coping skills that expand their capacity to manage adversity. These skills are important for resilience and good mental health in childhood and into adolescence.
- It improves concentration. Unstructured play is associated with improved attention span, especially in children who have trouble focusing for long periods of time.
- It helps develop and maintain healthy relationships. Evidence indicates that unstructured play can provide the opportunity to improve social competence. This means that children can improve their problem-solving skills, emotional intelligence, and ability to empathize. Children can become more self-aware and are better able to compromise and cooperate.
- It improves undesirable behaviours. Studies with schools report fewer problems with undesirable behaviours like bullying when unstructured play is increased. When children lead their own play, they can engage in social and emotional learning, such as the ability to control aggression and regulate feelings of anger and frustration.
So why not sign kids up for a sports team, give them the opportunity to play an instrument, or learn a new skill? Encourage them to take a break and play!