Play and child development are inextricably linked, Play is the work of children. It is an important part of the childhood development. If we care about the health and well-being of children today and into the future, then we must invest in play spaces and equipment that are age appropriate, child size and developmentally appropriate.
The most important phase of development of a person’s life, is the in the early childhood. It is at this phase, that the social, cognitive, physical and emotional skills are learned.
Play is so important to optimal child development that it has been recognized by the United Nations High Commission for Human Rights as a right of every child.
Closer home in Kenya, the promotion of play in the Early Childhood Education Centers is very low. Play is not seen as a priority by teachers as well as caregivers. In the age of technology, many caregivers have delegated the role of physical, creative and imaginative play to television, computers, phones and tablets, depriving off children the opportunity to exercise and express their inner thoughts and feelings.
There is very little if no investment by the National and County governments in play spaces and equipment that are age appropriate, child size and developmentally appropriate. Most Early Childhood Education Centers do not have appropriate play spaces and equipment.
There is a need to invest more in early childhood education and especially play spaces for the children. Play spaces make learning more fun and memorable. Children have the opportunity to use their imagination and to think for themselves, hence promoting independent learning.
Early childhood development being an essential part of human development, the government and development partners should be involved actively in the development and implementation process of creating safe play spaces for the children.