Who doesn’t enjoy watching children play? What is interesting though, is aside from it being adorable, play has a number of really important benefits:
- Play builds confidence and imagination.
- Play develops key motor and athletic skills.
- Play with others teaches teamwork and good sportsmanship.
- Play can build strong bonds between parents and children.
- Play makes kids happy.
Many of us have forgotten how to play, so here are some quick tips for engaging your child in play from the Women and Children’s Health Network. At Creating Together, we have our students come in from various schools across the city to support programming and engage the kids. In fact, for those of you who missed her departure, our placement student Mary has just finished her 3-month placement with us.
In addition to play, physical activity is another important aspect of healthy child development, with effects on sleep, heart health, muscle and bone strength, happiness, and more (PartcipACTION 2016). For some help in this department, Creating Together offers an exercise and movement program in alignment with the City of Toronto’s Rainbow Fun Guide – a physical activity and healthy eating program for children 3-6 years old. Through this program, children build on skills like listening, singing, movement and participation, while developing their fine and gross motor skills. If you’d like to get more involved, keep your eye out in our calendar for the busy body exercise cards, parachute play, and scarf dancing.
On days when the weather keeps you inside at home, there are a number of great indoor games to choose from. However, with the weather getting nicer, there are a number of benefits around connecting children with nature. For instance:
- Children with symptoms of Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) are better able to concentrate after contact with nature (Taylor et al. 2001).
- Children who play regularly in natural environments show more advanced motor fitness, including coordination, balance and agility, and they are sick less often (Grahn, et al. 1997, Fjortoft & Sageie 2001).
- Nature buffers the impact of life’s stresses on children and helps them deal with adversity. The greater the amount of nature exposure, the greater the benefits (Wells & Evans 2003).
- Nature helps children develop powers of observation and creativity and instills a sense of peace and being at one with the world (Crain 2001).
- Children who play in nature have more positive feelings about each other (Moore 1996).
Come in and ask our staff about upcoming day trips organized by Creating Together, giving everybody the opportunity to connect with eachother, expand horizons, and create great memories. Some examples of annual outings include:
- Ontario Science Centre
- Bronte Creek Conservation Park (Oakville)
- Strawberry picking at Downey’s Farm (Caledon)
- Apple picking at Chudleigh’s Farm (Milton)
- Metro Toronto Zoo
See you there!