The importance of play in cognitive development of children cannot be ignored. It has been established that children learn the various uses of objects when they are allowed to play with them than when other means of teaching are used. This indicates that play plays an important role in the process of learning among children where the children are given platforms to try the various ways that an object can be put into use.
This paper seeks to examine the relationship that exists between playing among the children and how play helps develop their imaginative skills. The paper also examines the relationship that exits between psychological coping and resiliency, and how this relationship may help a child when confronted with a dangerous situation. Lastly, the paper examines whether the strategies adopted at childhood are still useful in adulthood or at advanced stages of childhood or adolescence stage.
As noted by Hardman, Drew & Egan (2010), the extent to which a child is classified as playful or otherwise has a high significance to the child’s level of creativity. Playful children tend to be more creative as they get higher chances to interact with the phenomenon hence expanding their cognitive development.
When children are subjected to a test to determine the possible alternative uses of an object, it has been observed that children marked as more playful always have the tendency to score higher in the alternative use tests. This is an indication that playful children may have better chances of developing their cognitive abilities as opposed to the less playful children.
It is important to note that some children who may not be externally playful may indicate tendencies of being internally playful. Children who are classified as internally playful also exhibit higher levels of creativity than the children who are neither physically nor internally playful.
Internal playfulness is normally measured by examining the levels of feelings of happiness, the sense of humor, joy and lastly, active involvement (Hardman, Drew & Egan, 2010). Internally playful children have higher rates of internal imagination than other children, which indicates that play has an immense contribution to the level of imagination as well as other forms of cognitive development among children.
As far as psychological coping and resiliency is concerned, play among the children has invaluable roles. Among the leading role of play in enhancing psychological coping and resiliency among children is the fact that play induces a sense of relaxation, which helps improve the state of a child to cope with various aspects and to bounce back to the normal psychological state before being disturbed by a specified stressor.
As children play with one another, they tend to learn important interpersonal skills that comes in handy should coping skills be needed. Besides this, playing allows children to come face-to-face with various aspects of real life experiences such as winning and loosing. As children learn how it feels to lose and learn to look forward for a win in the future, their ability to keep their “cool” in times of a loss is increased. This improves their resilience not only in times of playing, but also when confronted with various real life experiences.
Another aspect that makes play to be an important aspect for the development of coping and resilience traits is the fact that play forces the children to always be in a situation where they are either faced with a win or a loss. Since the main aim of any player is to win a game, the playful children are always cognitively forced to devise new methods to ensure that they win the game even when they are trailing their opponents.
On the other hand, those who are leading have no choice, but to ensure that they are not overturned by their opponents to become the losers. The psychological feelings of the need to win even where there is little hope of winning a game makes children to develop resilience skills that are useful not only while they are playing, but also in many other facets of life. In a sharp contrast, children who are not playful may end up not developing these skills which make them have poor resilience skills when confronted with real life experiences.
As already noted, play has a significant role in improving the creativity and the coping as well as resilience traits among the children. These traits can prove to be valuable if a child who possesses them is faced with a dangerous situation. First, since the child is already creative due to the benefits accrued from play, such child can device various avenues to come out of the risky scenario successfully.
The developed imaginative skills can prove helpful in risky scenarios in that a child can devise various alternatives depending on the nature of risk as opposed to a child who has less developed imaginative skills. For instance, a child playful child who is inquisitive of what can be done with various objects can device new uses for the object at hand to act as a weapon to mitigate the risk.
As far as resilience is concerned, a child presented with a risky situation is able to cope effectively as he or she can make informed choices due to the ability to remain calm, despite the risk. Unlike a child who has no coping and resilience skills, a child who has gained these traits from play is most likely going to make informed choices as the chances of panicking are minimal than for those children who are less playful.
As people age, the relationship between play and imagination as well as resilience also changes. This means that people must remain adaptive so that the strategies adopted meets the potential dangers that may present themselves. This means that strategies that are useful at childhood cannot remain useful throughout one’s life.
There is a need to have newer strategies to ensure that the challenges that are presented to people are successfully solved. Therefore, it is evident that as people age, they need to be presented with more complex play scenarios that can motivate their brain activity to make more advanced choices as well as to develop more coping skills which can prove useful in case of a risky situation.
In conclusion, it is evident that play leads to more creative children, which enhances their normal coping skills. Play enhances cognitive development in children that in turn enhance their ability to devise meaningful relationships with the situations that are presented to them.
It is also important to note that play enhances one’s ability to cope with strenuous situations, a trait that is normally transferred to the real life situations. Also, play leads to feelings of relaxation that are vital in decision making process. Therefore, it is important that the role of play in cognitive development is not undermined especially in children as play has proved to be a resourceful activity as far as acquiring of necessary traits is concerned.
Hardman, M., L. Drew, C., J. & Egan M., W. (2010). Human Exceptionality: School, Community, and Family. 10th Ed. Upper Saddle River: Cengage Learning, 2010.