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Free Play and Children’s Development Essay Sample

Playing is of primary importance for children’s development, because it does not only entertain them, but also makes creative and broadens their thinking capacity. Children of tender age use games as a way of communication. They either interact with each other or with toys with which they play. This paper bases its analysis on the impact of a game on children’s development from an observation of a child in a gaming activity.

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The child under observation is a nine-year-old daughter to my cousin. I did an assessment during the weekend after visiting their home. Because I did not want her mother to influence my study, I did not tell her my intentions until I had made an observation. We watched her plays without interference and continued with our conversations. A game that the child was playing did not involve toys. The neighbor friend of my cousin’s daughter influenced her choice of the game. Both girls learned how to play it at school because they are schoolmates. Since we did not bother the two girls and there were no other persons around, they were less distracted from the game and their competition.


The game they were playing is called hopscotch. The girls drew a series of squares on the ground using the brick pattern and numbered them from number 1 to 10. They used chalk and any other object that could place marks on the ground to draw the squares. After drawing, they found a small stone and threw it into the first square. To continue to the next level, the player must throw it inside the right square and hop, jump alternately to the end of the grid, turn over to the beginning, and pick the stone on their way. The sequence continues with throwing the stone to the second and subsequent squares.

An important observation that I made on how the children related and communicated during the game was that each of them developed some personal attachment to their stone. Every time one threw the latter and it missed the intended square, the child could react angrily why it landed on the wrong target. They also praised and kissed their small stone every time it got to the place they wanted. The game also involved active communication between the two children because the one not playing acted as both a spectator and a referee. The girls were very passionate about the game and knew all its rules. Probably due to the training on how to play it at school, they did not try to change the way of playing. Any modification by one player would amount to a fault and terminate a session for the next player.

Though both genders can play the game, in my community and school settings, females usually prefer it. I found the two girls being very active in the game; it did not only make them psychologically excited, but also physically fit. Throughout the activity, one was either cheering the other or checking whether the child hoping from one square to another was making mistakes. Since they both had equal capacity, they alternated almost at equal intervals, which made it much interesting and engaging.

During this game, each of the two children was determined to go to the next stage. What I have learnt about them is that they have great determination to achieve ambitions they have. I have realized that if I were to motivate them to do something and introduce something they were passionate about, they would perform excellently and with no or fewer interaction. The game also taught them the mastery of numbers because they had to know that after square one, the next is two and so on.

Playing this game has taught the children that in life there are rules that one should adhere to, and if a person obeys them, he or she is rewarded. Therefore, if people do not observe the laid-down rules, there are negative consequences. The requirement illustrates the argument that if a person follows certain regulations, he or she can progress to the next stage. By hoping for a long time and throwing the stone from one square to the next, the children assess their ability to endure physical strain and concentrate. In most cases, player’s performance is reduced when they are tired.

All the questions, to which my observation was seeking answers, are significant in understanding the role of games for a child. The purpose of the first question was to give an understanding of how the one relates to their environment. In a game, the child tends to lift, throw, bite or talk to a toy, as well as develops different emotional expressions in relation to the item of play. For instance, in the case of tender age children, they are excited when a toy they are fond of is brought to them and cry when one deprives them of it. If they do not have someone to talk or play with, they tend to relate with the toy. This first question aims at assessing child’s brain development and activeness.

The second set of questions is asked to evaluate whether the child appreciates the game, its items and their purpose. Depending on the age, when given a toy, some kids do other things with it than what one can expect, such as biting and throwing it here and there. More grown-up children have toys communicating with each other. For instance, one doll is a mother and the other is a child, and they engage them in a mother-to-child conversation. As argued by Erickson in his social impact theory, art or creativity provides children with the ground where they can communicate ideas and feelings to others. Due to their tender age, they mostly cannot express their feelings by words, but learn to show them practically by what they do with their toys or any other games. Engaging children in plays is what Erickson refers to as using arts and social activities to enhance children’s emotional development. It is evident in what I observed from the two children’s play. Erickson argues that these kinds of activities enable children to respect others’ rights, opinions, and feelings, as well as to take a turn and share things with others, develop self-respect through their achievements, feel their efforts are worthwhile, and develop communication skills.

As children grow, they start grouping themselves in social clusters that suit them. The first and the most common groupings are gender-based. The third set of questions aimed at assessing whether the children under consideration appreciate socially pleasant things. It is a result of which people saw them loving and playing a game associated with the female gender.

The fourth set of questions aims at making the observer relate the play with the child. It is worth understanding not every entertainment activity suits a child. The importance of such an observation is that it helps a caregiver or a parent to understand a child and one’s passion. Some of the things that children like doing develop to talents which, can be very useful to them in the future. Having kids do what they feel comfortable doing will ensure that they develop without strain associated with understanding strange and complicated things. By learning what children are trying to communicate while playing, one receives an opportunity to understand their behavior and the way in which to communicate with them.

Considering the observation made in this essay and the argument raised by Erickson, I would like to highlight that child’s development is dependent on social activities that are involved in their lives. As indicated in this paper, children start relating with the world and people around them based on experiences they receive from games they play. This essay has made a revelation that games do not just entertain a child, but also shape their character and morality and the way in which they mingle with other people. To ensure proper development of children, it is therefore prudent to introduce games and plays that will instill good morals in them.


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