Thursday, March 18, 2010
Play is the way the brain learns best. When a child is using several senses, exploring, paying attention, and is trying things out in different ways, brain cells are changing and the child is learning. The child needs to participate… not watch. The brain also needs trial and error and a lot of repetition in fun and interesting ways. All of this is provided through play.
Play also provides the opportunity to learn to get along with other people. When children play with parents or other children a lot is learned about how relationships work. In addition, playing with others can lead to laughter.
Laughter is wonderful for the brain. Play and laughter activates the care and thinking areas of the brain. Laughing lightens our mood through reducing the level of stress hormones affecting our brains. It provides a physical and emotional release. Laughter can also lead to creating closer connections with other people. Laughter is also contagious so we can share this beneficial brain activity with others when we are laughing. Just watch the clip from a previous blog and see if it makes you laugh.
Physical play additionally provides many benefits to the brain. It first of all increases the amount of oxygen to the brain. Research also indicates that safe rough and tumble play can positively influence the activity in the thinking part of the brain. Numerous studies show that providing physical activity during the school day is correlated with improved academic performance.
If play takes place outdoors there are even more advantages. As I posted yesterday, natural environments have a very positive effect on the brain. Ironically as I am writing this blog, I received information about an article in, The Sun Chronicle entitled, Go where education’s free.
In the article, when presenting the benefits of playing outdoors, TheChildren & Nature Network is quoted as saying, “Children learn by doing. Unstructured time in a natural setting invites a child to explore, to play and to create.”
One of my recent favorite books on play is, Play: How It Shapes the Brain, Opens the Imagination, and Invigorates the Soul by Stuart Brown, M.D.
Your brain will love learning more about the benefits of play.
To get easy play ideas to have right in your pocket you can go to www.braininsightsonline.com
Because as I repeatedly say, brain development isn’t complicated. What young children want all adults to know is, their brain learns best through loving interaction and play!
So, have fun, get outdoors, play, and laugh together!