Child development and play?
Many games require a child to be very precise and coordinated, and games in races or arranging elements on the floor on a "first come, first served" basis develop reflexes, speed and agility. Play satisfies the natural need for movement in children, which can be seen in the nature of their preferred games - overcoming specially constructed obstacle courses, jumping rope, playing rubber, climbing, hiding, etc. Children who do not show up in this way show worse motor development than their peers , and later in life they are less motivated to take up physical activity, nor is it a source of pleasure and satisfaction for them. Thanks to play, the child acquires knowledge about the surrounding world directly, independently and indirectly from adults and peers. By observing and imitating the behavior and habits of adults, he involuntarily assimilates certain rules of the functioning of the social world, but also learns simple rules regarding physical phenomena, for example, the force of gravity, preventing a plastic plane from flying far. Through contact with peers and adults, the child increases their vocabulary and learns to use them adequately to the situation, even if they do not fully understand the meaning of individual words or phrases. Playing also helps to exercise memory and perception. Examples include puzzles or group games such as "What has changed?" - with age, finding the missing element or indicating a change in the environment or in the clothes of colleagues in the group becomes easier for the child. In make-believe play, the child learns to distinguish the world of fiction in play from the real world, and discovers that certain laws governing these worlds differ. Play is one of the earliest activities in which a child has the opportunity to develop their creativity and ingenuity, which allows them to experience a sense of agency, i.e. the feeling that they are the creator of their thoughts and actions. The child begins to be the author of implemented ideas, for example by creating a play scenario. It is then, after the stage of imitation, when the main goal of play is to recreate the behavior of adults or other children, that the time comes when the child independently creates the entire play situation. So his initiative is developing intensively. While playing with other children, the child discovers the rules of cooperation. He knows that in order to achieve the intended goal, i.e. to implement the assumed game plan, e.g. in princesses and knights, each of its participants must have a designated role - king, queen, princess, knight, ghost, dragon, witch. The division of roles and agreeing on the rules of the game require taking into account a point of view other than your own. When choosing a role or character, the interests of all people involved in the game must be taken into account in order for it to make sense at all. It is an ideal opportunity for a child to acquire various social skills - first of all, to clearly express their needs and will, make contact with other children, listen to what they say, understand their intentions, see inconsistencies and contradictions, deal with strong own emotions and colleagues, and finally resolving disputes and conflicts by, for example, finding a compromise, when it turns out that when building a sand castle you have to share your molds in order to be able to use your friend's molds. Play also helps children understand the social roles of adults. Already Plato noticed that games and plays should be used to guide children's activity, pleasure and desires for action, which they will engage in as adults one day. Thus, children assume different roles in play, both family and professional, mostly according to gender. It is thanks to play that a child tests social expectations related to a given gender and discovers, shapes and strengthens its own gender identity. By playing out the experiences of the protagonist - the chosen character, the child simultaneously experiences situations related to the role, thanks to which he learns to regulate his own emotional states and understands the feelings of others. While playing, a child experiences many diverse and very strong emotions, not always only positive ones. It often happens that a child is sad because the harm happens to a fictional character invented for the sake of fun. The influence of play on the development of self-control cannot be overlooked. The child learns to wait for his turn, to limit himself, to obey rules, to control impulses. On the one hand, the child does what he or she wants while playing, on the other hand, he begins to realize that in order for the play to have meaning and pleasure, it is necessary to obey the rules that govern it. All this helps the child to prepare for important events that are yet to come in his life.