It’s the essence of what kids do. We usually associate it with joy, pleasure, and often intense happiness. But play can occur at any age, and actually has some important roles to fulfil. And often, it can give us clues as to when our kid’s body, or our own, is not working at its best.
Often we think that play is relaxed, free-spirited and spontaneous. But it can also be quite structured. Play is not just a pastime activity; it has the potential to serve as an important tool in various parts of daily life for kids, but also for adolescents and for adults too. Play is important in helping physical development, such as hand–eye coordination, and it also helps cognitive development and social skills.
Benefits of Play
In young kids, play is often how they achieve cognitive development and socialization. Play can consist of an amusing, pretend or imaginary activity alone or with another. Some forms of play are rehearsals or trials for later life events, such as “play fighting”, pretend social encounters (such as parties with toys and dolls). Modern findings in neuroscience suggest that play promotes flexibility of mind, including adaptive practices such as discovering multiple ways to achieve a desired result, or creative ways to improve or reorganize a given situation.
Learning through play has been long recognized as a critical aspect of childhood and child development. Play also promotes healthy development of parent-child bonds, establishing social, emotional and cognitive developmental milestones that help them relate to others, manage stress, and learn resiliency.
Studies have found that play helps children learn how to cope with daily stressors. By playing, children regulate their emotions and this is important for adaptive functioning because without regulation, emotions could be overwhelming and stressful.
Of course, in older children, adolescents and adults, play through sports activities have their own host of benefits.
Beyond that, play can bring about great creativity. In his 1990 book Free Play: Improvisation in Life and Art, Nachmanovitch writes that:
Improvisation, composition, writing, painting, theater, invention, all creative acts are forms of play, the starting place of creativity in the human growth cycle, and one of the great primal life functions. Without play, learning and evolution are impossible. Play is the taproot from which original art springs; it is the raw stuff that the artist channels and organizes with all his learning and technique.
Wow! That’s a lot to come about from play.
What’s stopping you (or your kid) from playing?
If our bodies aren’t working at their best, we may not have our full level of flexibility, the strength to help our bodies do what they should, our normal balance and coordination. If it gets worse, we could even have pain, restriction or tension, or some parts of our body not functioning and adapting to their full extent.
All of that could be stopping you (or your kid) from playing well. And that will stop them from learning the many benefits they should be getting through play.
If you notice your kid (or yourself) not having normal flexibility, strength, balance, or coordination, or if something’s not right, perhaps it would be good to bring them in, so that we can see what may be going on.
We want your kid to be their greatest – to play fully, and deeply, and joyously.
And we want that for you too.
Many people find one easy, simple step to take towards getting their health back is to book in for their chiropractic appointment again.
If having more flexibility, feeling better, having better posture, ridding your body of the stress, strains and tensions that are holding you back from having a good life is important to you, come in and see if we can help you be healthier.