In a young child’s life play forms an important aspect of their emotional, moral and social development. It provides a platform for healthy cognitive development and various life lessons are learnt on the playground.
As parents we are constantly investing in our children looking for ways to change every aspect of parenthood into a learning experience with the intention of equipping them for success and connecting them to their Creator.
Imaginative play is crucial for a child. How often have we come across our child pretending to be a pirate at one instance, sailing in a ship on high seas in search of a hidden treasure and at the same time transform into being a keen builder where they put together this “ship” that will facilitate the expedition. The thought process is fragmented, sometimes difficult to decipher, but they proudly carry on putting together their story with ease and self-confidence.
Imaginative play becomes a thinking exercise where children learn to connect various aspects of role-play, anticipate and expect a reaction based on the same.
After returning from our recent trip to Makkah I have stumbled upon my 3 year old doing ‘tawaf’ around her make shift ka’ba – a cardboard box that we put together and painted to resemble the ka’ba. A huge procession of dolls follows suit chanting the verses “Labbaik Allah Labbaik…”
My 6 year old on the other hand often likes to be the ‘Imam of the Grand Mosque’ and lead in prayer her sister and toys (and anything/anyone else she can get her hands on!).
By witnessing these moments of sheer bliss I realized that children have the capacity to grasp and retain a lot more than we think. Our actions are constantly examined; memorized and mimicked in their hours of play and by watching them we get a true picture of our parenting.
By indulging in children’s world of wonders, we get an insight into their moral strengths and weaknesses. Is your child a fighter, a bully or a quitter? How do they react to failure? Through this we can help them develop their sense of justice, fairness, sharing and cooperation. By creating the right atmosphere we can work towards changing their weaknesses into their strengths and in the process raise a confident, selfless and emotionally aware child.