Playing away to success

by yogalife_user
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While child’s play is supposed to be simple, the benefits that come along with it are substantial as proved in a recent study carried out by LEGO®. Striving to inspire and develop the builders of tomorrow through play, LEGO® Middle East held an exclusive event in Dubai to unveil, key global and regional findings from their 2022 Play Well Study. Ipshita Sharma tells us more.

Studies across decades have shown over and over again that a core component of retention for a child’s memory is to make sure the memory is compounded with a bit of fun. So that’s why many children’s awareness videos are made with cartoons, why Sesame Street is used to teach manners and basic language, why educational games are used to introduce the stepping-stones of maths and science.

LEGO® Play Well 2022 study takes this point to the next level where they link concepts such as leadership, success, failure, teamwork, trial and error, and how to handle these with the help of touch play and Lego. This global study on play built on the 2018 and 2020 LEGO Play Well research findings, which presents parent and child perceptions on the benefits of family play, children’s play preferences, future-oriented skills and learning through play.

The report was gathered from a total of 32,781 parents, and 24,593 children aged 5 -12 and brings out the essence of what play means to children and parents across the globe. In its third edition, the study delves into how play has evolved, the benefits it brings to individuals and families, the barriers that get in the way and how we can protect it.  The study contained ground-breaking data and findings from parents and children of the UAE, with a large percentage of the nation’s parents agreeing that play must be prioritized and protected as it is an integral tool in a child’s development.

Jeroen Beijer, the General Manager of LEGO Middle East and South Africa; Aalia Thobani, Communication and Connection Specialist; and Dr Hessa Al Suwaidi, Executive Director at UAE Sharjah Child Friendly Office were at the panel discussion to talk about all things child’s play. Jeroen talked about his own children using Lego to understand how sometimes things don’t work out and how to handle it and how handling it results in a burst of self-confidence.

Aalia expanded on this and talked about teamwork is a very interesting concept to teach children, especially with connected play with parents and children getting involved. She talked about how parents should set aside 20 minutes a day to have wireless playtime with children. This is a good example of the Power of Play and how children can turn to these times to connect with their families, to learn about change, adjustment, fair play rules, imagination when making up new games etc

Dr Hessa then talked about UAE and Sharjah in particular takes the Power of Play very seriously with play being a focus of city-wide educational programmes. She also spoke about how play imbues children with essential life skills including self-confidence and resilience, independence and the ability to cope with challenging situations.

One of the main points that all spoke about was how this play time should on many times be child-led. When parents follow their child’s lead during playtime, their own interests can be used to help them learn various soft and educational subjects. Also when children lead the play, they also have to focus on their imagination, their communication skills and to understand how they can influence things around them. Child-led play simply means the child makes the majority of decisions when playing. This means that the child will choose the activity, toy or location to play in. The main point here is about giving the child total control instead of making choices for them. For example, ask the child if they would like to play inside or outside, if they want to use craft supplies, colour, puzzles, choose a toy or play a game.

The study reveals that 92% of parents in the UAE believe play is key in enabling children to learn new things. LEGO products help with children’s development and recognize how experimenting and making mistakes help with a child’s development. 96% of parents in the UAE say that playing together makes their family happier.

And while any kind of play is great – so playing video games together can be a great bonding experience between parents and children, especially if children choose the game; it is always better to choose some time that is totally wireless. Children today are digital natives and scrolling is second nature so it is up to the parents to make them see beyond the virtual world and connect them to their surroundings and society. Using connected physical play is therefore seen to be much more beneficial in the longterm for both children and parents. In fact, separate studies have also shown that children who have had physical play with their family have grown up to be much more successful in school and academics as well.

The valuable local insights from the LEGO Play Well Study provide key pillars of interest across various sectors that will help support youth by igniting the flame of the power of play and equipping families with the tools, time and space needed to prioritize and protect play.

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