It is not enough for adults to merely claim the importance of play for children's right to play to be respected.
Children are play specialists. Let them take the lead! Children know how to play. Oftentimes, it is when adults try to teach them to play that children have the least fun... simply because adults try to turn play into an educational activity.
However, adults play a key role in creating conditions conducive to the emergence of play:
- Value play
- Let the child play alone
- Offer uninterrupted play time
- Offer indoor and outdoor space
- Offer a variety of quality play materials
- Create opportunities to play with other children of the same age.
When letting kids play, you can intervene... without taking control! What can adults do to support and encourage children to play?
- Take interest in the child's games by asking questions, making suggestions and participating when the child asks them to
- State what the child is learning while playing. By being aware of their learnings, children gain self-confidence.
- Enhance the game with new objects and challenges.
- Help children at play when they experience difficulties.
- Be patient watching the child at play and express words of encouragement.
- Allow children the time to resolve a problem. If necessary, provide them with potential solutions, in the form of questions.
- Play according to the child's rules.
Sources and useful links
- Encyclopedia on Early Childhood Development Information on the importance of play.
- Équipe de recherche qualité éducative des services de garde et petite enfance. 2013 seminar on play in educational contexts during early childhood. The presentations are available on the seminar website.
- FERLAND, Francine. Le jeu chez l’enfant. Questions/réponses pour les parents. Montréal, Éditions du CHU Sainte-Justine, 2009, 71 pages.
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