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Play – a child’s right

The United Nations Human Rights Commission released their ‘Convention on the Rights of the Child’ 30 years ago. 

It has 54 different articles describing what countries around the world have agreed a child should have. They include the right to life (#6), freedom of expression (#13), freedom of religion (#14), family (#20), health care (#24) and… play (#31). Yes, leaders from 194 countries agree that every child should have the right to play!

Play appears in this list of human rights because it is now universally accepted that it is essential for the healthy development of a child. This involves all forms of play – solitary play, watching others play and cooperative play with others.

Organised games are a valuable part of this development. That is why we play group games with our children and give them opportunities to play games with each other. You might be surprised by the numerous benefits that come from group play. Below is a list of some of the developmental benefits that come from letting your child play games. 

  • Social skills

    Kids learn to take turns and wait patiently. They learn to compromise “okay this time you can have the red piece, but next time I will.”

  • Being a good sport

    How to be supportive of other players and accept losses graciously.

  • Verbal skills

    It’s hard to play a game without talking and interacting with others. Games can help shy children become talkative and relaxed.

  • Basic Math skills

    Counting how many spaces to move forward.

  • Reading

    Some games have words that children must read.

  • Fine and gross motor skills

    Games often have small pieces that children must manipulate. Some games like Hungry, Hungry, Hippos encourage kids to use larger muscles as they open and close the hippo’s mouth.

  • Listening skills

    To be able to follow the rules, kids need to listen when they are explained.

  • Analytical skills

    Some games require more than just luck to win. Those games that require strategy can help children develop their higher process thinking skills.

Play appears in this list of human rights because it is now universally accepted that it is essential for the healthy development of a child. This involves all forms of play – solitary play, watching others play and cooperative play with others.

References

  1. The Importance of Play in Promoting Healthy Child Development and Maintaining Strong Parent-Child Bonds (FROM THE AMERICAN ACADEMY OF PEDIATRICS)
  2. https://www.messforless.net/the-importance-of-games-for-kids-and-our-10-favorite-preschool-games/ 
  3. https://www.ohchr.org/en/professionalinterest/pages/crc.aspx

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