Learning & Development, Role Play

Why Is Creative Play Important For Children’s Development?

two children playing with mud and sensory playground equipment outdoors

In the early stages of a child’s life, their brain constantly develops and needs continual stimulation. Whilst education is a focal point for children and their development, allowing children to express themselves and improve their physical, social, and cognitive skills is an enormous part of their development.

In this article, we’re going to explore why is creative play important for children’s development and how can you incorporate it into your school’s programme. 

What Is Creative Play?

As a parent or teacher, training children’s brains and bodies to function in the real world is vital, so you should be teaching them as often as possible. If you visit and observe any nursery or school playground, you’ll notice many different experiences for children to get involved in, ranging from sand play and water play all the way to role play areas.

Children love getting creative with any activity that allows them to express themselves. Creative play is fundamental in improving children’s physical, social, cognitive, and emotional development, making it the perfect way to boost and develop basic skills for everyday life.

The definition of creative play is children’s play, such as modelling or painting, that tends to satisfy a need for self-expression and to develop manual skills. These creative activities are incredibly important, especially in the early years when the focus is on the development of students. 

Creative play is one of the best ideas for outdoor play in early years that any school or nursery can offer their students, as it allows them to have fun in unique ways! Whether it’s arts and crafts, drawing, painting, building, cutting, modelling, or simply playing around with household objects, creative play is an easy way of getting children involved whilst having a very positive impact on their day-to-day development and experience.

The best materials to use are those used in everyday life, such as fabrics, costumes, recycled objects, or any other sensory materials. Creative play sparks imagination as children can use and create their own ideas with whatever materials and tools they have available!

What Are The Benefits Of Creative Play?

outdoor playground climbing frame slide students

The creative play benefits are endless, as playing freely also allows children to express their creative ideas and imagination, which is an integral part of learning. It allows them to learn about and explore the world while sharing their ideas, thoughts, and feelings with their peers.

This can be a highly beneficial method of learning for children as the best way to learn is by getting involved and experimenting with new things rather than physically sitting down and listening.

“Children learn as they play. Most importantly, in play, children learn how to learn.” – O. Fred Donaldson.

There are many other benefits of creative play that go well beyond the level of enjoyment that children get from being involved. The main benefit of creative play is that it develops valuable language and communication skills that they need in everyday life. This sets the foundation of their skills and knowledge to benefit them in the future whilst helping them strategise, communicate, and encourage their social skills.

In case you missed it, we have another great article on Why Is Free Play Important In The Early Years that you could read further for more information.

Emotional Development 

Children often express their emotions through stories, drawing, painting, or activities rather than through words. These methods help them to understand their feelings more, particularly if they otherwise wouldn’t express how they feel. Creative play promotes children to integrate these feelings into activities so that they can creatively express their thoughts and emotions in a way they are encouraged to do so. Through this, they’ll be able to articulate their thoughts and feelings more easily as they grow up. 

Intellectual Development

When getting involved with creative play in the early years, young children can gain basic problem-solving skills. Creative play boosts their intellectual development by improving their cognitive skills whilst allowing them to pay attention, process how things work, and analyse why it works. Recent studies show that children who engage in creative play are more likely to pay attention to the teacher’s instructions than children who don’t.

Basic problem-solving such as figuring out how things and the world work, will help the little learners understand more complex problems later on in life. This, in turn, will enable them to follow instructions, solve problems, and make their own decisions in a much better way. 

Physical Development

Creative play benefits physical development in children by improving their fine motor skills and their control. It also improves their hand-eye coordination, which will help them later on in life with sports and writing.

Playing with small objects within a creative play area can help them control a pencil or paintbrush, making it the perfect activity for progressing their early physical development.

Social Development 

When engaging in creative play, young children can interact and socialise with their peers as it’s a great opportunity to share their ideas and imagination with others around them. This helps with their social interaction skills, basic communication skills, and their confidence too.

All of these skills learnt through creative play will enable them to learn academically, whilst as a toddler or young child, exploring, discovering, and learning new things can be very exciting. This is why the best way of learning is through observation and being hands-on! With so many valuable benefits, can you see why is creative play important for children’s development and why you should encourage it?

How To Get Involved With Creative Play?

red monkey play mascot, morris next to a water wall

Creative play can involve any materials or space, so it is extremely easy for children to get involved. It doesn’t have to be a stressful activity with much thought or planning, but just something simple to get them excited and creative. 

The best way of encouraging creative play is to use easy and simple objects, such as recycled objects and items you might find around the house, including egg cartons, tin-foil, and bubble wrap, to name just a few. You can also use sensory objects, including sponges, paper, and clay. You can get involved with creative play in any area, whether it’s outside with outdoor playground equipment, in an open field or even indoors in a school classroom.

Whilst young children can be spontaneous and excited to try new things, it’s a great way of interacting with them and letting them develop their emotional, physical, intellectual, and social skills. To get involved with creative play, you can follow your child’s lead and get involved in the fun! To find out how you could encourage creative play in your children’s lives, you can read our Buyer’s Guide To Children’s Role Play Equipment, packed with tips and creative play examples.

Get In Touch Today

Does creative play sound like something your school or nursery could implement? At Red Monkey Play, we can help complement your teacher’s programme perfectly whilst elevating your student’s learning and play time to the next level!

You can see for yourself all the success we’ve had with our playground design in our case studies, where our truly bespoke and consultative approach to playground design shines through. We have a wide range of different playground equipment options, including role play equipment, sensory playground equipment, and physical development equipment options that your students will love. 

If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact us, as we’d be delighted to answer any questions you may have. All you need to do is to send us an email at hello@redmonkeyplay.co.uk or call our Leicester office on 0116 366 9922, and one of our team members will happily assist you and discuss how together we could create the perfect outdoor classroom and play area for your school or nursery!

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