Developing through play
I often think that parents underestimate the opportunities that can come from something as simple as going to the park. I love watching how the children develop and change over time with regards to what they are capable of.
It’s amazing to see how one week they will need to hold your hand on something and the next week they can do it by themselves.
It is exciting watching them discover new things about their bodies. How fast they can run, how high they can lift a leg, how high they can jump and how they learn to balance.
With siblings, it’s also really lovely to watch them help each other. Once one figures something out, they can help another, or perhaps you witness one sibling trying to copy another.
It’s so tempting to reach out to grab them sometimes, as they wobble. It’s the natural thing to do as a parent, but sometimes I really try to stand back and see what happens.
Not only are children learning how their bodies move and developing new skills, they are learning to share with other children they don’t know and to take turns whilst they wait for equipment.
There are all sorts of sensory experiences at the park too, crunchy leaves, smells, sounds and different textures to touch.
The freedom children have at the park in the form of unstructured play gives them the opportunity to self-regulate their bodies. So when they have had enough of one activity they will naturally move on to something else.
They also get a chance to take risks. “How far can I stretch?”, “How high can I climb?” and so on.
So next time someone asks you what you did with the children and you say “we just went to the park” – think again, because the park is so much more!