Can’t visit the playground? Create one at home
September 06, 2021
I had an interesting conversation with a friend’s kid. “I am afraid that I’ll be too big for the slides in the playground once the pandemic is over,” the 5-year-old kid said. It seemed trivial for a morning conversation. But if you think about it, the pandemic has robbed the kids’ activities and outside play. When they look back on their childhood once they grow as adults, they will only remember spending most of their time at home, and if they were even permitted to step out of the house for a short while, they would be wearing masks and keeping a safe distance away from their peers and adults that they will meet in the streets. And that is not to say that a memorable child’s play only happens outside. We had our fair share of good memories that we have spent inside our homes as a child. Do you remember playing chef with the plastic kitchen tools and food, and offering our menu to our parents? Or playing doctor with a stethoscope that we practically point at any object and pretend to hear sounds? Or maybe simply playing tag or hide and seek with our siblings and parents, and having to spend a long time under the bed until we fall asleep? Those were the fun times that we fondly look back on. And along with these memories, in a way or another, have shaped us on how we converse with others and deal with the situations we are facing head-on. Child play is an important aspect of child development. According to Friedrich Froebel, a German educator responsible for creating the concept of ’kindergarten’, said that “play is the highest expression of human development in childhood, for it alone is the free expression of what is in a child’s soul.” It is through play that children develop their abilities in exploring, imagining, and decision making. Moreover, play supports a child’s physical development, social and emotional development, cognitive development, and literacy and numeracy development. Active play enables support for the overall health and wellbeing of a child. And by now, you may have come to realize how the play comes naturally to a child, wherein you do not need to force them into engaging in play activities. However, due to the restrictions caused by the global pandemic, the children have spent less time playing outdoors. And while staying at home has given a high percentage of protection against contracting the COVID-19 virus, it has reduced their chances of an enjoyable play and learning. Given the circumstances, what can we do to foster a healthy playing habit and environment for a child? We need not wait for the pandemic to end. While we are still hopeful that it will come sooner, the uncertainty of the situation will only cause and hinder our plans in giving our children the best environment that they need for growth and development. A good solution for that is to convert your garage space into your child’s playground. And of course, play with them so as not to make them feel alone. Remember that communication skills are greatly developed in a child’s play by interacting with them.