tabithasenff123 1 / - Nov 12, 2021 #1Allowing children to play is the key to their futureCan meaningful play be the key to children learning? Meaningful play encourages children to choose what they want to do, is fun for children and can evolve spontaneously.Playing is important for children because they learn in different ways than adults. While a child is playing, they usually use their full body which works out different muscles. There are large and fine motor skills that children need to start developing at a very young age, some start developing as soon as a child is born. There are a lot of ways that children play that help to develop these muscles. When a child is running, jumping, dancing, climbing they are working on large motor skills. When children are playing with blocks, coloring, playing with little dolls, they are working on their fine motor skills.Imagination is also a critical tool for children to have. Imagination is the beginning of the child's creativity. When children are using their imagination, they are working on specific areas of their brain's such as the emotional and creative parts. A few of The University of Denver's child researchers found that when a child is using their imagination, they are learning how to regulate their emotion and to act out another emotion they would use in the rea world while they are just pretending. Imagination can include roll playing which is a critical "game" for children because it they start to support their social skills. For example, one of the most popular games for children is to play teacher. While playing teacher they are "practicing" talking to students, teachers, principals which helps with their personal and professional lives in the future.When children get to choose what they play it helps them to become more confident. Learning through play encourages children to develop confidence by making choices on their own, taking "risks" and trying new things.When children are allowed to explore their new environment, it can help them learn that they can do things on their own and figure out that they can trust themselves to do what they need to do. While they still have trust for their caregivers when they need a little help, they are usually confident enough to do things by themselves. Play also encourages children to make decisions for themselves which is a huge skill to learn for the future. While playing, the child is safe enough to practice making decisions for themselves which will build confidence because they are getting to see what they can do. Play encourages children to socialize with other children. While socializing with other children they learn skills like communication, cooperation, problem solving and perceiving situations. While an adult plays with a child they can use their play time as a lesson. Adults can model social skills we want the children to use with their friends. For example, an adult can teach the child to say, "may I play with that please" rather than saying "give me that". Social skills could also include cooperation and problem solving in groups of children. Cooperation could be taking turns and compromising. Problem-solving can include sharing why there is a problem and how can they solve the problem.Jean Piaget published a theory in 1936 that spoke about how to understand your children and how to encourage their cognitive development. Jean Piaget said, "play is the work of childhood." When Jean Piaget had his own children, he began to study how they play. When watching his children play, he came up with the theory on the four stages of cognitive development. The four stages include the sensorimotor stage, the pre-operational stage, the concrete operational stage and the formal operational stage. The stages go by ages which is birth to two years old, two to seven years old, seven to eleven years old and eleven through adult. The sensorimotor stage children learn their five senses through movement and exploring their environment. The preoperational stage is when children begin to talk and communicate more and begin parallel play which is when they play by children but not with other children. The concrete operational stage is when the child begins to use logical thought and understand the laws of conversation. During this stage, they will also learn how to solve problems and want to learn more about the way the world works. Lastly, the formal operational stage is when children and adults learn the abstract thought and can manipulate different ideas in their heads. They will also learn hypothetical scenarios and questions during this stage.A lot of people believe that sitting at a desk and doing academics is the most important way for children to learn but so may researchers have found that play is the most important way for children to learn. Learning through play encourages children to use their large and fine motor skills, encourages creativity through imagination, develops social skills and builds confidence within each child. It can also help prepare the child for their adult years by learning to regulate their emotions, communicate with their peers, problem solve and cooperation. By taking Jean Piaget's theory and adding more current research we can really see why playing is the key to success for children and their future.