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Benefits of Play in a Child's Life Issue 392
September 18, 2015
Hi there! ....

This week has been a rather slow week as half of the family were down with a head cold. Nothing more unmotivating than snuffling through life!!

Daniel had a full week with three days of work experience, a day of TAFE and then a day off. He also enjoyed an afternoon out on the river with the boys Bible study group.

My efforts to revive habits is progressing - I'm still at about 50% success rate of opening my Bible before my computer, drinking more water, and blogging after my house is in order - and I added exercise and cleaning off my desk daily to my efforts. Little by little I'll get my mornings running smoothly again.

A Bible passage that has encouraged me this week is: 2 Thessalonians 1:11-12 With this in mind, we constantly pray for you, that our God may make you worthy of his calling, and that by his power he may bring to fruition your every desire for goodness and your every deed prompted by faith. We pray this so that the name of our Lord Jesus may be glorified in you, and you in him, according to the grace of our God and the Lord Jesus Christ. and my takeaway reminder was: Let God's energy enable me to do good and live by faith. We don't often use the word 'energy' - tend to leave that to new age thinking - but I felt this fitted with this verse - I needed God's enabling power this week - and I pray that for you too this coming week. Parenting is about doing good and living by faith and we need God's grace to do that.

This week I'm sharing a blog post on The Benefit of Play in a Child's Life, when we can see the benefits we may let our kids play more often! You can read it below or click over and read on my blog.

Live life with your Kids!

The Benefits of Play in a Child's life

There are benefits of play in a child's life - we just have to let it happen.

Though we make time for play in our day it is good to recognise the benefits of play in my children's lives. Three quotes that I have often considered:

Albert Einstein says: PLAY is the highest form of research.

another of his quotes: Imagination is greater than knowledge.

My friend Karen used to say: Let your children have some serious research time!

It is important for children to be able to play both by themselves and with other people. Either way they are going to be developing skills that are necessary for the rest of their life. When I recognize the benefits of play I can allow more time for it in our day, and on those bad days (in terms of academics) I know that my kids are still learning.

Play is associated with activities done for recreation and amusement. Play can be connected to games; either physical such as sport, or mental such as board games. Though there is no competitive nature in play. Play can be otherwise called a pastime – something that occupies your time, like a hobby or an interest. Play is also associated with acting out life (specifically in a drama or role playing).

Develops Relationships

When children play together there is a great opportunity to develop relationships. They need to share, co-operate and deal with conflicts. Initially children are not able to do these things by themselves so they need a parent to step in beside them and teach them. So though they maybe playing with the blocks or dolls by themselves, Mum is never far away ready to instruct and guide their moral development.

Practice Responsibilities

Children’s play is often a form of mimicry – they mimic the life they see their parents live. Can you remember setting your dolls up for church or school? Little boys act out fireman, or cops & robbers, or they drive cars and they become superheroes fixing things. As children play they toy (excuse the pun!) with the ideas of time, money, possessions and work.

Grow in Intrapersonal Skills

As children play with other children they have the opportunity to stand up and be a leader. They have the opportunity to express their opinions and ideas. They can even change their ideas. They develop team building and problem solving skills. Each one of these activities will stand them in good stead as they enter the adult world.

Play develops imagination, it develops an ability to go with change, and it gives plenty of opportunity to develop character traits such as perseverance, deference, hospitality, organization etc as children spend time with each other.

Recognizes Talents and Interests

Given free time children will more often gravitate towards the things that are their passions – they may drift towards building, or drawing, or exploring, or creating, or reading, or music, or sport or ...

I don’t want to box/label my children too quickly and yet I want to give them every opportunity to explore the things that they are passionate about. I try and provide a variety of materials and ideas and see what they pursue.

There are times when they don’t seem to pursue anything in particular. That is okay – I continue to offer variety of options and plenty of time to try it all out. One day something will click and they will be absorbed.

Builds Academic Skills

Gross motor and fine motor development happens as our children spend time exploring their world. As they have longer periods of play they will develop concentration and observation skills, both of which are foundational for further learning.

As our children talk either in their games or about their playtime they are developing their language skills. As children explore with different situations they are working on math concepts such as shape, space, measurement and numbers. Being able to see things from different perspectives will help with their problem solving and mastering new concepts as they grow older.

As children play they will ask all sorts of questions. This is a significant beginning of their education and it will lead to a love of learning as they find answers and ask more questions. Play offers an opportunity to practice things that they have learnt, to consolidate and even to extend ideas without the fear of failure.

Play is relaxing

As adults, who so often live in a time constraint world it is hard to see our children wafting around seemingly doing nothing. What we don’t see happening in these situations is what is going on in their little minds. I am constantly reminded that our children are little people – they have needs, and they function just like we do.

There are many times through the week that I need time to just blob – and as I sit there my mind reflects on what I have seen or heard or read during the day. There are other times though when my mind just shuts down and completely rests. Our children need the freedom to reflect and process their world as well. Play is their way.

Benefits of Play

If we can start to see the full benefits of play, we can start relaxing with some of our scheduling - or what often happens: over scheduling. We need to let our kids play, let them be kids and be confident that learning will be happening, and they will be consolidating skills. Our children need to run, jump, climb, swing, create, imagine, and problem solve - all of this happens in play. I have found it helpful to actually document what skills I saw my child exhibit in their play as a part of our homeschool journal. They may build tunnels in the sandpit, they may play on musical instruments and play me a song, they may create a story as they play with the doll-people or as they take turns jumping from the cubby house. I just jot a little note in our homeschool records to confirm that these things happened in our day - and it was valuable learning.

I am starting to use Instagram more often -
it is all a learning curve to me -
love to have you join me.
I use the hashtag #livelifewithyourkids
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Other blog posts to catch up on:
A Mum who Teaches - Not a Teacher who is Mum this has been an important idea in my homeschool journey.

Calming Activities to help kids Focus

What I love about myself - responding to a journaling prompt - a get to know me post.

I would also like to highlight this blog that I read earlier this morning about finding balance in our days. It is a very significant message to all parents. Establishing a Habit of Balance

Do you connect with me on Facebook? This week I changed my name to Live Life with your Kids!
to better represent family discipleship that is on my heart.
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Capture live life fb page

My Bookshop

Blending Life with Lessons e-book - Does your everyday life challenge your homeschool ideas? This is my journey as I discover that it is possible to disciple my children in today's busy lifestyle.

Heart Focus Parenting book/e-book - A heart focused parent will keep their attention on their child's heart for God, instead of on external behaviours.

Restoring the Heart, Mind and Soul of Christmas Do your Christmas celebrations line up with what you believe? Do your celebrations help your children learn more about Jesus?

This e-book is based on a workshop I held for a couple of years to help families see that Christmas can be a significant tradition in our family life. If we are intentional about how our family celebrates we have the opportunity to use this time to teach our children about Jesus, and his love for each one of us.

My Sitemap is a quick reference to all you will find on Lifestyle-Homeschool. I encourage you to have a browse around!

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Until next week

Belinda Letchford
Living life with her kids in Australia!

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Live life with your Kids newsletter is about being a deliberate parent, about enjoying family life and using the opportunities that happen to teach and train your children in righteousness (right living with God). I hope that you will find regular encouragement as you live life with your kids!

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