The Importance of Creative Play Research
What is creative play?
Creative play refers to a style of playing where a child uses her imagination during play time. Since creativity is a given trait, creative play comes naturally and helps children learn and develop.
Why did I choose creative play?
How does creative play help PIES?
Even at a young age, creative activities help to develop basic skills such as geometry (size and shape), measuring, and sorting. There is also a great deal of problem solving and concentration which happens as children learn to take what is in their head, and put it onto paper. In the early years they need to ask themselves basic questions like will this glue be strong enough, if I cut here will it fit, or how can I stop the paint from dripping? In solving these problems they learn about the creative thinking process.
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As children get older, different arts and crafts require more complex thinking skills, and many activities need an understanding of basic science concepts for them to make sense. Things like mixing specific colors or creating a mosaic pattern may seem like creative activities, but without an intellectual component the creativity falls apart. As your child learns these skills in a creative area, they can transfer them to other areas of their life as well.
Painting, drawing, cutting and pasting all help to develop fine motors skills in young children, which in turn helps them to be writing-ready as they near school age. Children are not born with a pencil in their hand, so it takes time to develop the skills required to make one work. Creative play helps to develop those skills.
With that in mind, it’s important to recognize that your child’s scribbles represent a huge milestone in their physical development. Remember in the space of a year or so, your child has gone from the stage of not even knowing they have hands, to being able to pick up a crayon, move it over the paper, and apply enough pressure for it to actually leave a mark. That’s incredible!
To put it in perspective, trying drawing a picture with a crayon held between your toes. The strength and co-ordination required to make that happen, is less than that required of toddlers learning to draw. Just making a mark is a milestone.
As children get older, creative activities will help further develop their fine motor skills, as well as their hand-eye coordination.
Emotional and Social Benefits
It’s no secret that creative activities provide a positive outlet for children (and adults) to express their emotions, and this starts at a very young age. Making a range of equipment and materials accessible for your child, means that creative expression becomes as normal as brushing their teeth.
As children get older, arts and crafts can provide a safe and positive way for children to socialize with others. Instead of just ‘hanging out’, children can get together to make and create.
Why is it important?
I think children learn more, and learn better when they are encouraged to play creatively than if they are restricted in some way.
Creative play and artistic activities are essential to children's overall development. This is because they help nurture imagination, develop problem-solving, thinking as well as motor skills.