The Power of Play
Today’s blog is about the power of play. Playing helps children learn about themselves, others, and the world around them. And it’s fun! They want to play!
It’s not hard to get children to pick up toys and play. At the children’s home, the primary school, and nursery program, the kids make their own toys from cardboard boxes and bottle tops and their imaginations.
During a week of vacation, the kids took out the parachutes and endlessly enjoyed hiding underneath the colored fabric and giggling until someone on the outside tapped their heads and called their names. The enthusiastic game of tag that followed left everyone exhausted but smiling. Prisca and Agusti built themselves a little house from the leftover cardboard boxes. It even had a little door!
One day last week was deemed “English day” and the mamas and the kids at the children’s home could only speak English. It was definitely a challenge! It was made more fun by wearing signs to indicate that someone was an “English speaker.” I had to wear a sign that said “Swahili speaker” and that was fun for the kids, as they laughed at everything I tried to say!
Everyday, the kids at Kunduchi whirl out of the classroom and race around outside. Games help kids remember what they’ve learned and apply new knowledge to their every day lives. Learning the colors becomes much more important when the knowledge means they’ll win at Red Light, Green Light. Active games in the classroom also help. Recently volunteers helped the children learn the colors by making it a race around the four corners of the classroom. The first to know all the colors, got to be the first outside!
The help2kids Primary School students from Standard 6 & 7 have been out training on a neighbouring school’s football field. Volunteers Roger and Thomas donated the necessary footballs and vests and have been coaching the kids, leading them in drills, fitness exercises, and organizing games. The activities help develop the kids’ skills, increase their fitness, and promote teamwork and cooperation.
The time the kids spend playing football or tag solidifies friendships and helps children learn teamwork and social responsibility. They also learn how to follow rules, make strategic decisions, and persevere in face of obstacles. Participation in sports, as well as other games, motivates children to stay in school as well as teaching life skills. The importance of play can never be overestimated!
We’re so happy that our children have the opportunity to play. Thank you to everyone who has given us toys and games that help us learn and have fun!
-Jess Wentling, Children’s Home Assistant Manager