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Healthy Cells is a local health magazine with most of the articles written by local professionals. People love to read about healthcare from their local health professionals. Each month includes a wide variety of articles on various topics.
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The Purpose of Play

It’s no secret that children love to play. To them, it’s fun, and it’s how they like to spend most of their time. There are plenty of reasons for adults to appreciate playtime as well. It helps kids burn what sometimes seems like endless energy, and it can keep them busy for hours at a time. What kids don’t know, and what you may not know either, is that “just playing” is essential to their overall development.

Beyond keeping kids occupied and entertained, playtime ultimately helps children grow in a number of different ways, impacting almost every aspect of their lives. Some activities help their physical development, including gross motor skills and fine motor skills. Other activities help promote the way they communicate with those around them, including social, emotional, and language development. Playing nurtures their spatial reasoning, cognitive abilities and creativity — all necessary tools in becoming good problem solvers and learning to interact with the world around them. Every toy and game they play with, every book they read, and every craft project they work on has an effect on some aspect of their development.

From using a pencil to running around the block to learning a new language, all of the skills children acquire help shape who they will become later in life. That’s why it’s so important to satisfy all of the different types of developmental needs, thus creating well-rounded people. To ensure kids continue to become well-rounded, they should continually be stimulated and challenged. This means that as their thinking processes and actions get more complicated and advanced, so, too, should the things in life with which they interact. For instance, if a seven-year-old only has toys and games that are meant for a four-year-old, optimal growth will not be fostered.

In addition to making sure kids have a collection of age appropriate books, games, and toys, it’s also good for them to have variety. Sometimes, they might even bounce between three different puzzles, a coloring book, and a remote control car within a matter of minutes — which may seem a little chaotic at times. It’s okay though, because it keeps things fresh and interesting to them. When provided with a variety of toys, it will take longer for them to become bored.

Even though play is so important in keeping kids’ minds active, one of the greatest things about it is that it doesn’t take any convincing for them to participate — unlike so many other things in their lives that tend to be a struggle. You may have to bribe your kids to get them to brush their teeth or clean up their toys, but you won’t have to trick them into playing. You may have to sneak vegetables into their mashed potatoes, but when they’re outside, you won’t have to beg them to play a game of football, where they will be mastering their gross motor skills without even knowing it. When they are inside, changing the outfit and accessories on their favorite doll will give their fine motor skills a nice boost. They are having fun, growing and learning — a true win-win.

Whether they’re your kids, or someone else’s, the next time you see children having a good time, know that playtime is doing a lot more than putting smiles on their faces. It’s helping them mature into smart, confident, considerate adults.

To learn more about the purpose of play and how toys, games, books, and crafts can help children develop and grow, visit the Gingerbread House Toy Store at 915 E. Washington St. Suite 3 in Bloomington, or call 309-827-8811. Kate Greene, owner, and the experienced staff will answer your questions and help you choose fun items to nurture the kids in your life.



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