Playing with dolls, coloring, play dough, playing ball, playing the piano are the favorite games of Mariah Alves Ferraz, 5 years old. On International Play Day, celebrated this Friday, 28, she and millions of children around the world play for fun, but in addition, play is a fundamental part of child development, says the education specialist at Itaú Social , Juliana Yade.
“Playing is essential for child development. It is through games and play that children learn about the world and about them. Children learn all the time alone, with other children, with objects, with adults. Playing is a right, and the situations that are promoted by playing help a lot in the development of autonomy ”.
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Psychologist Dora Leite, coordinator of the Child Life Sector, from Sabará Hospital Infantil (SP), adds: “Considering that playing is the child’s language, this action takes place in both cognitive, affective, motor and social areas”.
Play is essential for the integral development of children. Its importance is so great that it is a right guaranteed by the Statute of the Child and Adolescent (ECA), advocated by the United Nations (UN), and even has a day of celebration: 28 May.
During the period of social isolation, however, some activities were limited and it is increasingly difficult to keep children at ease in the home. The departure from school routine, friends and family has created what some call “toxic stress”, in which children are restless and bored.
“It was necessary for families to create other possibilities for children’s interaction, sometimes by video call, sometimes within the family itself, other forms of play, games, interactions, whether it is time to cook, eat, take care of home, including them in household chores. In this sense, children ended up with less possibilities for interaction, which made their daily lives become more restricted. This does have an implication even for the child’s development, but I believe that, as they are very eager for the possibilities, when this moment minimizes or passes, they will quickly recover this time of social isolation ”.
For social educator Juliana Yade, older children created strategies to keep moving, playing during isolation. “It was very good to realize, in this period, how much the families were adapting to their realities, so that the games, the games, the songs had a value in this challenging routine. Even though the children could not play with others, this relationship with the adult was essential so that we did not break with the possibilities of integral development during the pandemic period, ”he said.
Mariah’s mother, teacher Aline Alves Ferraz, has used various resources so that the game remains lively during social isolation. “Our solution for this period was to spend more time on her and invest in toy options that enable individual interaction, such as puzzles, makeup dolls, educational games and even some electronic games on cell phones, sometimes. We also continue to play singing, coloring or painting, modeling clay, drawing for others to guess and playing cards ”.
Aline also included housework as a joke. “We play“ clothing store ”when we need to pack her clothes in her room, and in class, as it is my job and, many times, she witnesses due to the home office. YouTube videos, with ballet classes and different story tales were also options for our little one ”, he said.
As Mariah’s parents are also musicians, songs have always been part of the fun at home. “Music has always been our ally and still is, whether with the use of musical instruments or simply the chapel, singing songs or playing a choreography”.
Brazilian oral tradition games
Mariah is lucky to have musician parents, but it doesn’t take any extra talent to add creative play to children’s daily lives, even at home. For Play Day, Itaú Social highlights content aimed at the integral development of children.
As part of the program of the World Play Week 2021, promoted by Aliança pela Infância, Itaú Social highlights the content built to enhance family moments through games that are easy to do at home.
The material has 25 options of activities that are part of the Brazilian oral tradition adapted to the current reality. The content, available as a two-hour online course, contains videos, audios and e-books. There are also tips to ensure light fun for the whole family. The material has the technical support of the Center for Studies and Research in Education, Culture and Community Action.
Some tips to ensure fun:
- Choose a time when children are not tired or hungry, nor do they need to relax soon afterwards.
- Organize the space where the game will take place. There are three reasons for this: to facilitate movement and ensure safety; show everyone that different environments in the house can have different uses; and call the children to play.
- Use the materials you have, make the necessary adaptations, adjust the proposals to what is possible in your home and reinvent traditional games, from the time of parents, uncles, grandparents and great-grandparents.
- In some activities, the players have defined roles. For example, someone needs to be the catcher and the rest, the fugitives. Try to rotate these roles, this increases the children’s autonomy and can make the game more fun for everyone. However, the ideal is for the adult to start playing the role of the one who controls the play until the children learn.
- Children like to repeat the games. So, don’t worry about offering new suggestions every day. The games can be repeated while they are of interest to the children. Sometimes, varying the way of playing a little keeps the little ones curious.
- The same games can be a lot of fun at different ages. However, after a certain stage, the child will be better able to understand the proposals, developing them with more autonomy.
Traditional toys with reusable materials
Anyone who wants to produce their own toy can be inspired by the shuttlecock and bilbo-making workshop, which provides instructions for making traditional toys with reusable materials. Shuttlecocks are of indigenous origin, since the bilboque has existed for over 500 years in Brazil. The workshop can be watched on the page @museudainfanciaunesc.
World Play Week
It is a great mobilization to sensitize society about the importance of playing and the essence of childhood. Promoted by the Alliance for Children in Brazil, in partnership with dozens of other organizations, its general objective is to show that playing is fundamental for the construction of a dignified childhood. In 2021, the theme of SMB is “Casinhas das Infância”, which seeks to enhance the play of the house, the house and the traditions of games, songs and playful games passed down from generation to generation.