Why “Play” Matters
By Club Fit Briarcliff Assistant General Manager, Ted Gilsinger
Don’t underestimate child’s play. It may look like leisure time, but when children are playing, fighting imaginary dragons or organizing a game of kickball, they’re actually developing crucial life skills and preparing their brains for the challenges of adulthood. The bad news, child development experts say, is that free playtime has been shrinking for children over the past three decades.
Play teaches kids to play nice! Research published in the Early Childhood Education Journal in 2007 revealed that both free play and guided plan can help preschoolers learn awareness of other people’s feelings. Playing also teaches kids to regulate their own emotions, a skill that serves them well as they move through life. “You get to try things out with no consequences,” said Kathy Hirsch-Pasek, a child development psychologist at Temple University. “Play allows you to wear different hats, to master social rules and that’s huge.”
Play allows children to use their creativity while developing their imagination, dexterity, and physical, cognitive, and emotional strength. Play is important to healthy brain development. It is through play that children at a very early age engage and interact in the world around them. Play allows children to create and explore a world they can master, conquering their fears while practicing adult roles, sometimes in conjunction with other children or adult caregivers. As they master their world, play helps children develop new competencies that lead to enhanced confidence and the resiliency they will need to face future challenges. Undirected play allows children to learn how to work in groups, to share, to negotiate, to resolve conflicts, and to learn self-advocacy skills. When play is allowed to be child driven, children practice decision-making skills, move at their own pace, discover their own areas of interest, and ultimately engage fully in the passions they wish to pursue.
The Club Fit Summer Camp aims to promote a healthy active life style while fostering the benefits of play. Our full-day campers build new friendships all summer long while engaging in a multitude of developmentally aligned activities. Campers from kindergarten through 8th grade have the opportunity to try out new activities such as yoga, tennis, karate, and Zumba, each taught by certified specialists. In addition, campers are encouraged to build positive relationships with their peers and counselors through a variety of sports and gym games where sportsmanship is key. Energy Camp is dedicated to fostering a spirited summer community through camp-wide events like weekly theme days and special events all summer long.
Club Fit’s Summer Preschool Program aims to attend to the whole child by nurturing their psychological, social, emotional, and physical needs. Through a daily morning circle routine, campers will engage with picture books and develop both their number and time sense. In addition, circle time is an opportunity for our young campers to develop meaningful relationships with their peers and teachers. As a community dedicated to the health and physical well-being of our program participants, preschool campers will also engage in a variety of gross-motor activities such as Super Soccer Starts, Quick Start tennis, movement through music, and daily swim.