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Play Period in Children (3-6 years)

In this period, mobility, expressive power and independence increase and control of small muscles is realized.

Searching for friends, establishing relationships with peers, playing together, starting to notice the difference between boys and girls, and an effort to resemble parents (identification) are in question in the game. The active form of activity of the period, in addition to those in the previous period, is sliding, swinging, grasping, throwing, stringing, writing, nesting, sticking, cutting.

The characteristics of the “sensory-motor” and “pre-operational” periods, which correspond to the early childhood period from the cognitive development (cognition is the mental activities that include learning and understanding the world, and includes the processes of perception, memory, reasoning, thinking, and comprehension) revealed by Jean Piaget. briefly as follows:

 The play period for children aged 3-6 years is an important stage of their development. During this period, children's physical, cognitive, social, and emotional development progresses rapidly, and play is a crucial component in supporting this growth.

Here are some types of play that are important during the play period for kids:

Sensory-Motor Period (0-2 years): The baby establishes a relationship with the outside world through his senses and motor activities. They have various reflexes (the most important being the sucking and catching reflexes). It goes from reflex behavior to voluntary behavior level.

When the baby is 8-12 months old, the concept of "continuity of object" begins to develop. Accordingly, they realize that the objects or people that go out of their field of vision do not actually disappear. Between 12 and 18 months, the baby is able to actively research and experiment; Between 18–24 months, he begins to show signs of simple symbolic thought. Babies are only concerned with their immediate surroundings and cannot successfully achieve goals that are distant in terms of space and time.

Preoperational Period (between 2 and 7 years): In this period, children have a completely egocentric mindset, capable of language and symbolic thinking.

They do not understand that those around them may have different points of view than their own, they believe that their own view is the only one. Since the logical thinking process has not yet developed, they are under the influence of the images of the objects. Their cognitive structures have not yet reached the level where they can comprehend conservation (the principle that when the shape or position of any object changes, its quantity, weight and volume will not change).

They perceive in general and integrate unrelated objects and concepts without paying attention to details. The child cannot think of the part and the whole at the same time and cannot make mental comparisons. Can classify items with their single and distinctive features and cannot understand abstract concepts. Towards the end of this period, egocentric thinking begins to diminish and is replaced by logical thinking.

In addition to the aforementioned developmental stages and features, the importance of play in childhood should be discussed in detail. “Because, although the game is the only occupation of the preschool age, the need for play does not end with starting school. As the child grows, it continues by changing its form according to the level of development”. Play is not a leisure activity or a tool for the child, as adults think, but the goal. It is one of his basic requirements and his life is embodied in the game.

Play is the second most important spiritual food after love for the development and personality of the child.

In summary, the action of the game; It is aimed at the physiological development of the child (development of the muscular system and the discharge of the accumulated energy), participation in the society (socialization), understanding of life, forming his personality and transferring the culture to the next generations.

Play Period in Children

What should we do in the face of our child's sexual development?

Sexual development is an important dimension of an individual's development. An individual who cannot carry out his sexual development in a healthy way and encounters sexual inhibitions and problems also has disorders in his behavior and experiences problems in adapting to the environment throughout his life.

Preschool children's interest in sexual matters turns into a very strong curiosity starting from the age of 3 until the age of 5-6.

The birth of a child at home, in the neighbor's house, the breeding of animals, movies, pictures, conversations by adults and their friends on this subject, the child's interest in and playing with the reproductive organs, seeing that the opposite sex is separate from him, and similar issues increase the child's curiosity about sexual issues.

In particular, not getting convincing answers to questions and wanting to be silenced will increase the child's curiosity. In addition, these behaviors are the source of the child's first sense of guilt and negative attitude towards sexual development.

Preschoolers have a strong desire to learn about themselves as well as the world around them. Toilet training, which is applied from 18 months to 2.5 years, directs the attention of both the child and the mother to the sexual organs. As the baby learns that the diaper should not be wet, he begins to notice that his bladder is full and the pressure on the organs near him causing a kind of sexual sensation.

Some parents are uncomfortable with this early sexual interest and worry that it is not normal. However, this behavior of babies is completely natural, normal and healthy. Sex education starts at this point. The child's curiosity in sexual matters arises from the need to know this world and is as appropriate and healthy as his curiosity in other subjects. If the adult gives the wrong answer and creates a scandal, sexual development may be impaired. Parents should not think that the child will not understand the answers, but should give short, real and clear answers.

Sex education should not be too early or too late, simple, short, real and worry-free answers should be given in a timely manner according to the child's developmental level. Verbal information should not give the child the impression that he is hiding something. Simple, precise, concrete information does not confuse the mind. An important point here is the child's trust in the parents. The child's confidence is supported when he receives honest answers to the questions he asks. The role of the educator is not to reveal the suppressed secret, but to make the child aware of it.

As the child plays, his senses sharpen, his talents flourish, his skill increases. Because the game is the child's most natural learning environment. It is an experiment room where they test and try what they hear and see, and reinforce what they have learned. Play is the child's freedom; is the medium of creation; It is the child's language and the most effective means of expression (he expresses his sorrows, anxieties and fears through games). It serves to discharge one of the strongest and most natural urges, the urge to aggression.

Pretend Play: Children at this age love to engage in pretend play, such as pretending to be a doctor, a teacher, or a superhero. Pretend play helps children develop their imagination and creativity.

Social Play: Kids love to play with other children, and social play is a critical aspect of their development during the play period. They learn to take turns, share, negotiate, and communicate with others.

Creative Play: Children enjoy creative play, such as painting, drawing, and building with blocks. Creative play helps develop their fine motor skills, hand-eye coordination, and problem-solving abilities.

Physical Play: Running, jumping, climbing, and other physical activities are essential during this period. Physical play helps children develop their gross motor skills, coordination, and balance.

Educational Play: Educational play, such as learning through games, puzzles, and interactive toys, is essential for developing children's cognitive skills, including memory, attention, and critical thinking.

Overall, the play period for children aged 3-6 years is a time of immense growth and development. Encouraging and facilitating different types of play can help support children's development in many different ways.

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