Toddlers and young children of pre-school age playing and running around on the playground are engaging in the types of activities that are improving both their physical and emotional health while preparing them for further physical and social development.
Even when babies are casually picking up objects, blowing bubbles when feeding, putting rattles into their mouths, or laughing when you play peek-a-boo with them, they are learning about the world around them. When you play with babies, you enhance their cognitive and social skills that are so essential for their development as they get older.
Between the constant demands of work and family, it often seems like there's little or no time for play in our daily lives.
There is growing evidence to suggest that play – the type of joyful, unstructured physical activity that we typically associate with young children – can have significant health, mind and body benefits for adults as well.
By developing a playful approach to life, you can awaken your mind and reach a new state of consciousness. That's because play changes and rewires your brain so that you become more receptive to new ideas, become more creative, and are better able to deal with stress in your everyday life.
There are chemical and biological reasons why the act of play makes you feel better. Even 30 minutes of play can unlock powerful feel good hormones and change the way the brain responds to signals it receives.
Playful movement does not need to be complicated. Lay it out in terms of basic movement patterns. Moves that are functional and possible to adapt for all – with challenges that can be scaled to each individual. You can piggy-back carry, focus on animal crawls and movements, or play games such as tag.
Well play can be confusing for us adults; it is either seen as frivolous, deemed as foolish, or blanketed as childish activity related to relieving boredom with no well-defined goals. Adults often judge play as an unnecessary task even for their children.
I mean really played. You might regard organised sport as playtime or going to a party as play, but what I am actually talking about is play that is activity based on unadulterated and joyful movement.