A love of team sport is usually acquired at a young age during preschool activities when kids are also introduced to the basics of most sport codes. The bonus is that partaking in the playground games at school teach them much more than just good sportsmanship and sport techniques. Group activities also promote mental and physical well-being and equip a child with essential social skills for life.
Skipping, jumping and various ballgames are part and parcel of school activities during lunch time breaks. These games are not only crucial for a child’s physical fitness and muscle development, but also help them to interact and socialize with different people in a group situation. This is the time and place where the foundation is laid for acceptable social and moral behavior and respect for others. Inappropriate conduct such as selfishness, bullying and tantrums are seldom tolerated in a group situation and thus a culprit quickly learns to either play by the rules, or be shunned.
There is, however, also a downside to playground games if it is not properly supervised. Young kids are normally selfish and unwilling to share. Bullying and fights can easily occur if trained teachers and coaches are not around to take control and defuse explosive situations in a proper, sensible way. Kids can be cruel to one another and victims of school bullies often suffer lasting emotional damage.
Especially young kids under the age of 4 should never be allowed to play in groups without proper supervision. Team activities differ from school to school and place to place, but most kids’ first experience of playground games include fun activities with basic equipment such as ropes, balls and bats to improve their balance, eye-hand coordination, as well as their muscle development. These fun games also lay the groundwork for more advanced team sports to follow in future years, by teaching them from start the proper techniques of how to catch, kick and throw a ball, hold a bat or racket or how to bowl. Experience builds confidence and a child with a healthy self-esteem is seldom shy or depressed.
Group activities and team sport also help to combat social and health problems such as obesity, depression and poor academic performance. Happy, balanced children love to play in groups. Evidence is growing that physical activity and team sport might even increase a child’s numeracy and literacy adeptness.
The benefits of healthy, outdoor activities and team sport can never be stressed enough – especially for growing kids. It equips them with social, physical and mental skills that will stand them in good stead for life. Team sport promotes responsibility, tenacity, team spirit, leadership qualities and even the ability to handle life’s disappointments. And it all starts with playground games.
That silly little children’s games may look like mere child’s play, but it is the best educational tool in the world. It teaches young children to play with kids they don’t necessarily like, to share and to respect others. Best of all, it gives kids the opportunity to be less selfish and to learn that things do not always go their way. Maybe, just maybe, the world would be a better place if there were playground games for adults too.