Playful-recreational activity plays a very important role in the development of the child. “Surplus of energy”: Spencer argues that both humans and animals have excess energy that is used in play. As we went down in the educational development Spencer noticed that there was a decrease in play activity because energy was used to satisfy basic needs. He noted that in higher animals there is a greater conservation of energy which is expressed in playful activity. In 1900 Carl Cross argued that play is a kind of exercise used to develop the motor and mental activities of the individual.
Playful activities grow and change in step with the intellectual and psychological development of the child, even if they remain a fundamental stage in the life of every man whatever his age. Through the game as Schiller reminds us, “man is fully such only when he plays”, as through the game everyone keeps his mind free from any thought, and has the opportunity to download his emotionality and his instinct.
PLAY AND AFFECTIVE DEVELOPMENT
The different ways of playing depend on the emotional development of the child and tend to change with growth. This phase becomes a key to reading his psychic balance.
The stages are:
0 – 1 year: The play begins already from the first months of the child’s life. Initially this first phase guarantees the child some sensations that gratify and enrich his own self that is forming. The first games are played with his own body and that of his mother, even if his attention is also directed to the objects that surround him. The child waves his hands, moves his legs. These are all activities that are purely exploratory and repetitive. In fact, actions follow one another, and serve to make him learn to distinguish between the self and the non-self.
2 years: In this phase of his development, the child begins to become aware of the separation from the mother, and therefore has to cope with the crisis of anxiety and abandonment. At this stage the transactional object takes over. It is an object that in the first years of life takes on a particular character, it is offered to the child by the main event figure of the child (the mother), and when the mother is absent, this object represents it and is a sign of certainty. Later when the child acquires the awareness of the mother figure and the transactional object is abandoned, if it remains it becomes a habitual form, it loses its main meaning.
3 years: In this phase of growth, the first socialization games begin to take place. The child shows interest in playing with others. The imaginative capacity begins to develop, we tend to imitate the behavior of others.
4 – 5 years: It is a phase in which the game becomes an expression of one’s own internal dynamics. the most favorite games are those of the doll, the doctor, the game of hide and seek. The use of these games serves to represent punishments or prohibitions that the child has suffered.
6 – 10 years: The games are characterized by the rules and are played in groups. This means that the child learns to be with others, and to respect the rules to ensure the proper functioning of the game.