Children love to play. They love toys and to create new games. But sometimes, playtime is traded for screen time. Too often, parents place their children in front of a television or computer screen and use it as a babysitter. While occasional TV time isn't always bad, if screen time is more prevalent than playtime, you are depriving your little ones. Here are several reasons why you should make playtime a priority in your day.

Playtime is learning time

A large portion of your child's learning takes place during playtime. When children are young, they learn physical skills such as rolling, catching, throwing and stacking. They also learn how things work, what happens when you push a car, how puzzles go together, etc.

Playtime is when your child can use his ideas and develop new insights about the world around him. During this time, he can learn how to think to accomplish a task and how to solve his own problems.

Ignite the imagination

Structured playtime is an excellent time for children to learn, but when you let children explore, their imagination can run free. Learning to develop creativity and ignite the imagination is important when children are young. There are too many distractions, such as electronics, that can hinder this creativity as they grow older.

To help your child's imagination soar, you can set out a group of toys and let your child choose which one he or she wants to play with. You can also work on art projects together or let your child play at a nearby park. Provide opportunities for your child to use his imagination instead of just setting him down in front of a screen.

Increase physical activity

Playtime is the perfect time to get up and move. During this time, you can teach children physical skills such as catching, jumping and running. Physical activity not only keeps children healthy and prevents childhood obesity, it also helps establish a habit of exercise in their lives. If kids do not start while they are young, it will be difficult to implement this habit later in life.

Help children build social skills

When children play, they often play with another individual. Whether that individual is a parent, sibling, cousin or a friend, playtime is a great way to help your child develop social skills. At least two or three times a week, make sure your child plays with another individual. Help them grasp the concept of sharing, playing what other children play and making the rules fair. Playtime is the perfect time to teach your child what it takes to be a true friend.

Playtime is an important part of the day for your child. It is more than something your child does for fun it is a way to learn, grow and develop. When you don't provide that valuable time, you may be taking away something critical in your child's life.

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