Today, 7th August, is National Playday, the national day of play that celebrates and promotes everything to do with the act of playing and its benefits and is something that adopted parents can get behind and support.
Playday was originally put together by a group of play workers back in 1986 who were concerned about the closure of several school-based play centres and parks in the London area and decided to put together a play day to raise awareness of the benefits of play. The event grew in profile and within just a few years it became a national day that now has over 850 events running across the UK.
These events include street parties and festivals, adventures in woodlands, fields and beaches and public events at community venues. These events are sometimes on a smaller scale, and sometimes on a much larger scale with hundreds of children getting involved.
So, what are the benefits of play?
Playing with your children has so many benefits. Not only does it help you bond with your child, it also allows them to use their creativity and helps develop their imagination. Play helps with not just their cognitive and physical development, but their emotional development, too. Children like to play by themselves, but also love it when mum and dad get involved, too, and both types of play have different benefits.
From the youngest age, play enables your child to interact with the world around them; they are able to learn and engage through play.
It’s not just young children that benefit from play. Children of all ages use play to develop things that they have learnt and when children play together, it can help develop leadership, group skills and social skills. Playing allows them to express both conscious and unconscious feelings around things that are going on around them and things that have happened in their life. By taking on adult roles through play, they are able to work through these feelings.
If you Google ‘benefits of play for children’ the results that you will receive are astounding.
In fact, there is also a type of therapy that is used for adoptive families called Theraplay.
“Theraplay is a child and family therapy for building and enhancing attachment, self-esteem, trust in others, and joyful engagement. It is based on the natural patterns of playful, healthy interaction between parent and child and is personal, physical, and fun.”
Adopted children have often been through so much trauma, and may not have the words to express what has happened to them and how they feel. Some may not even be aware of the feelings that they have. Art and play therapy can help uncover adopted children’s stories and help them to express themselves and deal with their feelings. Both child and family can benefit from this type of therapy.
Therapy aside, in our everyday lives so many of us are on the go so much that free-play may not have its place in our day-to-day lives as much as it should.
Although we are celebrating National Playday today, it’s also important to remember that play has so many benefits that we should be playing with our children on a daily basis and encouraging their creativity.