Several researches highlight participating in a pleasurable and fun play activity, children are self-motivated to satisfy an innate need to explore a sense of well-being, provides an antidote to their stresses and be able to master their environment. Hence, Play is an essential gift for children to grow up to be psychologically healthy and emotionally competent.
Children either playing alone or with others, play ensure their muscle exercised together with their imagination, and so do their neural pathways in the brain are developed and strengthened.
1. Provides a safe and conducive “play- based” environment with fun leisure activities
A child can spend their leisure time by himself or herself with center staff ; invites friends or with other kids in a small group of 2-3, either just have a chat or participate in some of activities together where children can explore:
- Social communication
Fun leisure activities:
Messy with creative play:
⦁ Children will have the opportunity to explore drawing, coloring
⦁ Art and crafts e.g., cutting and pasting using food or household items, hand painting and printing etc.
⦁ Dough play: enable to sculpt objects from.
⦁ Sand play: Sand tray (dry and wet tray) to play with different textures
⦁ Make a snack e.g., baking and decorating cookies with sprinkles and taste cookies they made.
⦁ Free play e.g., places a variety of sensory toys or board games to play with.
During Puppets play using either hand or fingers puppets to give a puppet show or storytelling.
Music play: Enjoy sing-a-longs, movement, rhythm, games and sound making by using a microphone to each others; use KTV style to sing along with others or watch movies together.
Each session will explore in experiments or exciting demos or games in a different scientific topic about the world around us.
To interact with some four legged friends, e.g., dog, hamster with animal lovers. Spend time with companionship of animals.
Indoor camping to have fun, regardless of the weather.
Massage is done on the surface, with very little pressure and slow, gentle strokes on hands and feet.
2. Provides Therapy
a) Therapeutic Play Therapy- Social, Emotional and Behaviors
According to Virginia Axline, the therapeutic powers of Play Therapy is to provide an opportunity for children to “play out” their feelings and problems within a safe psychological distance just as adult “talks out”:
⦁ Through the selection of play activities to make sense of their life experiences and to develop tools and coping strategies to enhance developmental growth and learn about themselves.
⦁ Enhancing attention and expanding awareness, learning healthier ways to communicate with others, expressing emotion feelings, modifying behavior, and developing problem-solving skills.
⦁ According to Brain researches by Kestly (2014) and Siegel (2012), children experience positive relationship through play therapy sessions, thus promoting neuroplasticity assisting in brain structure; and help the Rational brain to coordinate with Mammalian bran, which controls the emotional system.
Benefits of Play Therapy:
Abuse issues, aggression, low self-esteem, poor social skills, coping skills issues, anger management, handling trauma, divorce issues, anxiety disorders, ADHD, obsessive-compulsive disorders, depression, autism spectrum, conduct disorders, grief and loss, academic and social developmental, and physical and learning disabilities.
How Long does Therapeutic Play Therapy Take?
Each therapy cycle is minimum 12 sessions. Each session is 45 minutes. Sessions are held weekly. Number of sessions per cycle will be reviewed every six sessions while some issues may take between 18-24 sessions.
b) Play First Aid
“Play is the child’s symbolic language of self-expression and can reveal (a) what the child has experienced; (b) reactions to what was experienced; (c) feelings about what was experienced; (d) what the child wishes, wants, or needs; and (e) the child’s perception of self.”- Garry L. Landreth, Play Therapy: The Art of the Relationship
Play First Aid is attending to child’s transitory or mild psychological need within a short period (few days) right after a stressful event e.g., bully, peer issue, poor exam performance etc. Children could use a variety of toys and materials to experience release of tension, in order to discharge related emotions, bringing relief in either a single or 2-3 sessions.
Play First Aid does not involve the child detailed discussion of the cause of event. It is not to analyze what had happened or to put things in order. It is about to:
• Bring calm and reduce distress
• Help feels safe and secure
• Identify and assist with current needs
• Establish relationship connection
• As an early screening for any needing further or specialized help
• Assist to get through the period of high intensity and insecurity feeling
How Long does Play First Aid Take?
Each cycle is between 1-3 sessions. Each session is 45 minutes. Sessions are held weekly. Number of sessions will be review every session while screening if further or specialized help is needed.
3. Provides support for parents and caregivers
- Parents can take a short break
- Workshop cum sharing session in a small group:
- Enhance coping skills
- Learn about child development
- Build supportive relationships, networks and needs