Therapeutic play and well-being
Play has incredible therapeutic benefits for children, it is their native language and we should support them to use it in as many ways as we possibly can. Below are listed some different types of play that you and your children might enjoy, click on each picture for some free activity ideas, as well as information on the therapeutic benefits of each activity.
Every activity has been tried and tested by myself and my children and has been created with the support of a registered play therapist. To read more about the vital importance of play, scroll to the bottom of this page. To experience it for yourself, click on a title below and choose an activity to try at home!
Play is something that I am absolutely passionate about and something that is often dismissed as being something 'unnecessary' for children, a luxury that should be limited and taken away if children don't conform to adult rules and regulations. Having created and operated The Play Well Trust charity for four years, I have seen first hand just how essential play is for children and their families.
Play is the universal language of children and an essential part of what makes us human. Without play, vital interactions are lost and thought processes are hindered.
Play helps children to build relationships and gives them a safe space to work through feelings and emotions. It helps them to make plans, find solutions, to ease anxieties and to interact with friends and family in a way that they might not feel able to in the ‘real world.’
Even as adults play is essential to our thought processing and relationship building. We play with ideas until we find the way forward, we go out with our friends and have some ‘down time’ and as parents and care givers we use play to bond with and interact with our children.
Play is especially important for children who are experiencing long term illness, trauma, loss or life changes. Play between family members, whether it be a parent and child, siblings, grand parents and children, or others, helps to build stronger relationships and offers the opportunity for better communication and understanding.
Play enables a child who is unwell to be free of their worries and illness for a time, it removes the medical aspect of the relationship between them and whoever they are playing with, and it gives them back a little bit of their childhood.
Boost communication and understanding
Allow space for laughter and fun
Allow space for tears and frustrations
Support learning without fear of failure
Lower stress levels and blood pressure
Boost the immune system
Remind us all of who we really are
Therefore, play should be the very essence of all of the work we do with children.