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Play and its Role in Mental Development

Nov 14, 2007
There have been many scientific studies regarding the importance of play in the mental development in infants as well as children. The renowned Soviet psychologist Lev Vygotsky has contributed significant research on this aspect of the mental development in infants. Vygotsky has opined that play is "the leading source of development in preschool years." The mental development of infants depends on a variety of factors but the role of play is much more vital for enhancing their motor skills, and other related developmental skills.

The mental development depends also on other factors like the environment around the individual, the influence of their companions on them, the habits of their parents, and their own genetic makeup. The old saying " Spare the Rod and Spoil the Child" is no longer held important in view of the new scientific studies that are done in the area of human mental progress.

Psychologists and experts in the area of mental development give top priority to the idea of playing in learning new things. One important thing that facilitates learning in humans is play; ideas like game based learning are fast catching on in the corporate e-learning courses and indeed nothing can be as enjoyable as learning from playing. The role of play is not only important in infant and children but also in adult mental progress.

The Role of Play in Infants

The infant mental development is a complex process and the first one to twelve months are important in this regard. The brain reflexes develop fast in infant mental development and the stimulation for this is play. Playing with objects facilitates the natural curiosity of the infants and they can further explore the many dimensions of learning new things. Playing is thus a very serious business for infant mental development. Infant play with virtually anything they can lay their hands on. Playing objects that move fast and have flashy colors mostly attract the attention of infants.

The many options available for play for infants stimulate not only their mental, physical, emotional development but also their overall mental progress. The learning of motor skills like using their hands and feet, identifying faces, recalling objects becomes easy with playing. The traditional singing, songs while making the baby sleep can also form part of playing though the baby might not be actively participating but their sensory organs do respond and fall asleep this activity stimulate their sensory integration. However, in selecting the toys and other playthings one should take care that they are not toxic and sharp edged.

The value of playing in children

In children, playing is mainly physical in nature like running around, playing with balls, with their parents, jumping; skipping, cycling and other forms of play stimulate not only their physical development but also their cognitive development. Playing the games of assembling objects of different sizes and shapes helps attain a stable healthy mental state. The active participation and freedom of choice is also important in play.
About the Author
Stephen C Campbell (Master NLP Practitioner) has published more information on Developing Memory and mastering your life at
http://www.memorydevelopmentmastery.com
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