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Children’s development relies on executive function, emotional regulation, and physical skills, which they can learn and enhance through play. Unfortunately, the increasing prevalence of electronic devices and the busyness of children’s schedules can lead to a neglect of device-free playtime.

Have children forgotten the art of playing?

Notably, both parents and children seem to have forgotten the art of play. In the past, parents would bring toys to keep their children entertained while waiting, but nowadays, they often opt for handing them a smartphone. The widespread availability and convenience of devices have made it challenging to resist their allure and actively seek alternative activities.

Center on the Developing Child at Harvard has created informative handouts for parents, offering age-specific games and activities promoting child development. These resources also emphasize the importance of parental involvement, benefiting both the child’s growth and the parent-child relationship.

During the early years of a child’s life, play serves the purpose of constructing brain connections and developing fundamental skills. As children progress in age, play continues to enhance these skills while providing opportunities for creativity, critical thinking, cooperation, and physical activity.

Games instrumental in enhancing cognitive abilities

For children aged 4 to 7, there are several game ideas that promote active engagement while reinforcing self-regulation and cooperation. Games such as Freeze Dance, Simon Says, Duck Duck Goose, and Red Light Green Light are ideal choices. To strengthen memory and cognitive abilities, activities like I Spy, Bingo and other matching games can be highly beneficial. Encouraging creativity can be achieved through collaborative storytelling.

Children between the ages of 8 to 12 can engage in various activities, such as solving puzzles like jigsaw and crosswords, playing memory and strategy games like chess, Go,  Battleship, or Clue. They can also participate in physical activities like playing sports together, like basketball, skating, practicing yoga, or going for a run, which promotes a healthy lifestyle. Another option is to learn an instrument together. Additionally, they can explore their creative side by making things, such as cooking, building, sewing, crocheting, or growing a garden, which can be both educational and enjoyable.