Helping Your Child Grow Through Sport - Part 1

How important is sport in aiding your child's development? Very! Below we outline some of the key areas in which playing sports will benefit your child.

Communication, Language and Literacy

Whilst playing sport, children are listening and engaging with who is teaching them, and this will help to develop a range of skills.

- Fine Motor Control – Playing sport helps a child’s overall physical development, which in turn improves their fine motor control. This improvement can aid their writing and enable them to become competent writers.

- Visual Memory – Children need to experience the world actively with all their senses before they can hold the memory of those things in their heads as pictures, concepts or symbols. When a child repeats activities, they begin to remember certain moves.

- Spatial Memory – Through repetition and varied activities, children will understand the concept of his/her self and the relationship between objects and a given space. Spatial concepts are complex cognitive skills. Through sport we gain the understanding of up/down/under/on/in/out/behind and in front. It helps children to judge distances and places of safety.

- New Vocabulary – Talking to children whilst they are actually engaged in movement  enhances the use of different language. Talking about equipment; balls, hoops, cones, kicking, catching, throwing, rolling etc fosters the use of new language and conversation.

- Rhythm – Through sport, children are introduced to movement, rhythm and gross motor play. Running, hopping and skipping all create rhythms. This is vital for their intellectual development. If a child’s space is restricted, they become frustrated and uncooperative, therefore denying the kind of learning that can only be gained through freedom of space.

- Questions and Answers – Exploring through new experiences with movement and activities will encourage children to ask questions and solve problems.

Problem Solving, Reasoning and Numeracy

- Sorting – Children sort and classify by organising their understanding of people and objects in their environment. Each new word and experience is attached to an encounter and catalogued with it. Once a child is matching more than two objects, they are sorting. A child can learn to do this through use of sport equipment such as balls, cones and hoops.

- Patterning – Children learn about patterns through their physical play. They learn and understand ‘what comes next’. This can refer to linked activities, counting, recognition of equipment, different sizes – ‘big’, ‘medium’, ‘small’ etc.

- Differences/Similarities – Whilst playing sport, children can talk and point out maths concepts such as: high and low, heavy and light, fast and slow, close and far, first, second and last.

- Numbers – Sport activities are full of learning opportunities which will lay the foundation for Numeracy and Maths skills; counting equipment such as balls and counting to start the activity, analysing and making sense of information such as “how many wins does my team need to get to win the game?” will become familiar conversations and enhance your child’s understanding.

- Shape/Size/Weight/Space/Volume – When talking to children, it will help him/her to understand how and why maths is useful. These everyday activities and experiences can be learnt in a playful and relaxed way so that they are fun for children.

Knowledge and Understanding of the World

- Skill Transference – Valuable skills learnt from sport have been known to facilitate development in other areas of life. These can be used in supporting child development in areas such as self esteem, motivation, social skills.

- Relation to the World – Sport has long been idealised to rise above differences among cultures and nations. It will bring children new friendships and open opportunities that might not otherwise be available.

- Routine – Toddlers are sticklers for routine. It increases their sense of security and teaches them about their boundaries. This allows them to focus on learning, exploring and playing. By incorporating physical activity into a daily routine, children will establish good patterns and positive experiences.

- Curiosity – Introducing new objects will naturally increase a child's curiosity. Objects will seem more intriguing when children are pointed out details and they will enjoy engaging in conversation about shapes, colours and names. 

If you'd like to learn about some fun sports activities that you can play with your child, head over to Our Programme page!

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