Saturday 25 May 2013

Encouraging Self Expression Through Play

For a child to develop well, they must be able to express themselves through play. Play itself is an incredibly important part of a child’s life, as it is the primary way they learn about the world around them and develop on emotional, social and physical levels. In many ways, a child playing is an experience very similar to that of school or work; necessary activities that help us to get on in life. So, as a child develops through play they begin to get a sense of themselves, which will naturally lead to a desire to explore it, which they can continue to do through play.

Play acting, or make believe, is a time honoured favourite amongst young children and is one of the best for encouraging self-expression. With a few simple props, children can transport themselves to a world of their own creation and be whoever they want to be. Though your natural instinct might be to think that playing other people is bad for a child’s self-expression, it is in fact the complete opposite. The more children explore at playing characters of their own creation, the more sure they will become of themselves. Play acting is a wonderful exercise for the imagination and will help children to understand the power of their own minds and form independence. Not only that, but play acting will also help them grow in confidence as well as enabling them to understand any fears or concerns they might have. Children sometimes struggle with difficult issues and find it easier to express their worries through play, and parents can help their children to overcome these worries by participating in make believe or whatever method the child chooses to express themselves in. Generic puppets like the range by Galt Toys, for example, are often used for talking children through complex ideas.

Parents can also play their part in encouraging self-expression through play by providing encouragement and the right tools. There are plenty of creative activities that children love to participate in, such as painting, drawing, and arts and crafts in general. For children, these activities are a great way of making sense of things they’ve seen and done through their own creations; namely taking the knowledge they’ve already acquired and presenting it the way they see it. Similar to play acting, children can take a few simple tools and use them to create something unique and meaningful to them. In some ways, children expressing themselves in this manner is similar to the process of dreaming; a sorting of ideas and information in an accessible way. Parents should be supportive in any kind of creative forms of self-expression; it’s a healthy emotional outlet as well as an enjoyable form of play.

The ability to self-express is valuable to a child, as it will form the basis of how they handle both themselves and the world around them when they grow up. Self-expression can lead to talents emerging, aid growth in confidence, emotional and social skills and more; the more a child plays in this way, the more they will learn about themselves and be happy with who they are.

(This is a featured post for Galt Toys).
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