Researchers from the Australian Institute of Family Studies examined existing research on playgroup from 2000 to 2015, and found multiple benefits.
They reported that playgroups offer a positive social experience for parents, help them make new friends and enable them to learn more about caring for their kids.
Social benefits often extended outside of the supported playgroup-in one study 68% of families had contact with other playgroup families outside of the playgroup session.
Parenting skills developed within the playgroup led parents to becoming more confident in caring for their young.
Children also benefited from going to playgroups, with researchers finding they had become more actively involved in play and confidence the more they started attending.
Playgroup-aged children experience various stages of rapid brain, body and skill development.
Safe and Satisfying Play
Almost as soon as a child becomes aware of anything he/she becomes aware of his/her hands, and the hands of others. Nursery-age play has forever and everywhere been associated with hands on activities.
Babies busily examine everything around them learning by seeing, touching, tasting, feeling and hearing. They explore and experiment to discover new information. New skills are mastered through practice and repetition. As a parent you can help by understanding the way babies learn and by providing a variety of play experiences.
When providing playthings please avoid:
. Anything sharp or broken
. Detachable small parts like buttons and eyes
. Cords longer than 30 centimeters
. Toxic paints or plastics
Create a safe play space on the floor, or outside, with a blanket and some toys. To give him different things to touch and see place a rough towel or satin sheet on the blanket. Try using a lamb’s wool rug, a commercially made baby mat or a patch work rug with different textured fabrics.
Lie him on his back to stretch, kick and develop hand skills. Turn him onto his tummy to strengthen back, neck, shoulder and arm muscles and to give him a chance to practice head control. As your baby grows interesting things to explore become an important part of floor play. Select a few items and change them often.
Popular Toys are:
Soft blocks or balls
.Containers or stackable boxes
When your baby is sitting, put these toys in a box, bag or basket for her/him to unpack and pack.
Play is not always busy; it can be restful and soothing. Quiet reflective play is as important to your child’s wellbeing as are times of social and physically active play.
Be learning to read your baby’s cues you will know when he/she needs your company and when he is content to be alone.
When he/she is unsettled or wants reassuring, use play times for bonding by cuddling, rocking, stroking or patting. Take a quit walk, share a book, sing lullabies or simply be together.
He/she is content being alone when he/she is babbling happily to himself on waking, lying quietly watching a mobile, looking at himself in a cot mirror or cuddling a favourite toy. Don’t unnecessarily interrupt this playtime.
These are special times when he sets the pace of his own play. Establishing routine quiet playtimes increases concentration, self-motivation and self-settling skills.
Routines help children know what to expect and give rhythm to life. The cycle of feed, play, sleep is often established.
Play lifts otherwise boring routines into opportunities for sharing, learning, bonding and fun.
.A massage or song with the nappy change
.Splashes and pouring at bath time
.Colourful balls and floating toys in the bath water
.Chatting to your baby as you go about your routines
.Pointing out things of interest when walking, shopping or visiting
.Singing a rhyme when putting him in the car seat
.Keeping a car bag of toys for travelling
The Fun Learning Education’s Playgroup Focus on Play
Child-initiated play lays a foundation for learning and academic success.through play, children learn to interact with others, develop language skills, recognise and solve problems, and discover their human potential. Play helps children make sense of, and find their place in, the world through:
Physical development: The rough and tumble of active play facilitates children’s sensorimotor development. It is a natural preventive for the current epidemic of childhood obesity. Research suggests that recess also boots schoolchildren’s academic performance.
Academics: There is a close link between play and healthy cognitive growth. It lays the foundation for later academic success in reading and writing. It provides hands-on experiences with real-life materials that help children develop abstract scientific and mathematical concepts. Play is critical for the development of imagination and creative problem-solving skills.
Social and emotional learning: Research suggests that social make-believe play is related to increases in cooperation, empathy, and impulse control, reduced aggression, and better overall emotional and social health.
Sheer joy: The evidence is clear-healthy children of all ages love to play. Experts in child development say plenty of time for childhood play is one of the key factors leading to happiness in adulthood.
It may well be that the smartest thing a young child can do with a computer or TV is to play with the box it came in! Computers tend to insist on being just computers, programmed by adults. But an empty box becomes a cave, a canoe, a cabin, a shop-whatever and whenever the child’s magic wand of imagination decrees.
The early years of a child’s learning make a significant difference to the way they develop and go on to learn throughout their lives. The More Fun Education vision is for all children to have the opportunity to participate in quality early childhood education, no matter what their circumstances may be. Recent research confirms that early cognitive development is inextricably linked with physical, emotional, and social development.
Children need time for self-initiated play.
.Over-scheduled lives leave little time for play.
Choose simple toys:
.A good toy is 10 percent toy and 90 percent child.
.The child’s imagination is the engine of healthy play.
Simple toys and natural materials, like wood, boxes, balls, dolls, sand, and clay invite children to create their own scenes and then knock them down and start over.
The Fun Learning Education focus Physical Activity
There is no doubt that physical activity provides health benefits for children
Physical activity throughout life provides important from coronary artery disease.
Physically active people live longer; have better managed weigh, lower blood pressure and healthier cholesterol levels.
Physical activity is important for healthy growth and development of the cardiorespiratory system as well as bones and muscles of children.
Physical activity has mental and social health benefits and active people are likely to feel more confident, happy, relaxed and be able to sleep better.
Physical activity provides broader community benefits. Engaging children and young people in enjoyable and positive physical activity may also make a contribution to broader social and community goals including social skill development, and improved sense of community belonging, identity and cohesion (social capital).
Early prevention is important, as there is evidence that active children are more likely to become active adults.
Additional benefits can be gained from structured moderate-to-vigorous intensity physical activity such as sport, physical education, dance or planned activity for three or more sessions of twenty minutes or more per week.
What can Fun Learning Education Parents Do?
Set positive examples by leading active lifestyles, and make physical activity part of the family’s daily routine-such as designating time for family walks or playing active games together.
Provide opportunities for children to be active by playing with them. Give them active toys and equipment, and take them to places where they can be active. Offer positive reinforcement for the physical activities in which your child participates and encourage them as they express interest in new activities.
Make physical activity fun. Fun activities can be anything the child enjoys, either structured or non-structured. They may range from team sports, individual sports, and or recreational activities such as walking, running, skating, bicycling, swimming, playground activities, and free-time play.
Ensure that the activity is age appropriate and, to ensure safety, provide protective equipment such as helmets, wrist pads, and kneepads. Find a convenient place to be active regularly.
Limit the time children watch television or play video games to no more than two hours per day. Instead, encourage your children to find fun activities to do with family members or on their own that simply involve more activity (walking, running, skipping, dancing)