Games And Sports In Physical Education
As Millennials or people who were born before or during the early 2000s, the concept of computers was just being introduced to us in schools and our homes.
Despite the growing popularity of desktop video games or the snake game on our parent’s Nokia bricks, we would find ourselves playing lagori or Kabbadi during our lunch breaks or our dedicated – Physical Education (PE) periods in school.
The cultural and social shift taking place across the world, like the rapid growth of technology and parents having to work long hours, has led to a decline in outdoor play. Perceived risks of security, danger, clubbed with a global pandemic urging everyone to remain indoors, physical education games and sports for kids has become an increasingly scarce option.
In this article, we will discuss why physical education games in schools are important and the measures we should take to implement physical education games in our curriculums.
- Cognitive Development
- Development of Emotional Wellbeing
- Development of social skills
- Development of self-regulatory abilities
- Physical wellbeing development
- Creative development
1) Cognitive Development:
Physical education games are of different kinds. These could be structured sports and games such as Volleyball or Basketball or free games with not as many defined rules and techniques such a catch and cook, hide-and-seek, etc.
Once out on the ground, physical education games and sports in schools push children into making decisions such as –
- What game to play?
- How many people can be accommodated in the game?
- How many kids are there in total?
- Will the proposed game be feasible in the allotted space and time?
- Who to pick to form a team?
Such questions when asked through physical education games and sports for kids,from an early age helps in strengthening a child’s decision-making capacity, analytical skills, comprehensive skills, critical thinking abilities, and much more. Mastery of these skills is crucial for a stable and secure future of a child. They also come in handy in the classroom as children learn how to apply learned knowledge, boosting academic performance.
2) Development of Emotional Wellbeing
Extensive research has been done on the topic of physical education games in schools and their impact on a child’s emotional wellbeing.
The urban lifestyle, though highly appealing, brings with it a lot of unspoken stress. Young children are not equipped with the capacity to understand these situations and deal with them, as this understanding develops only with maturity and time. Physical education games and sports for kids provide the perfect opportunity to let off some steam, bond with other children and forge lasting friendships.
A study conducted in 2002 examined this particular concept through a ‘rough-and-tumble’ form of physical playing. The study was conducted in the US and found that such form of playing is demonstrated in children aged 3 -5 years and with family. Furthermore, Kids exposed to such form of playing were not aggressive and could control their degree of roughness. They showed a lower tendency of becoming bullies and maintained healthy levels of self-confidence and esteem when they managed to complete a given task.
Games and sports can be of great support to children to overcome fears. Taking up roles that are usually played by adults, nurtures values such as empathy, inclusion, and honesty in young children.
3) Development of social skills
The present educational system is rigid and the only leisure time students get is the time when they are involved in physical education games in schools.
On a playground, the opportunities for social interaction are numerous. Here children get to meet other children, from different walks of life and understand the working of different cultures. This improves their ability to receive and accept a variety of social cues and social behavior.
Physical education games and sports for kids introduce them to cooperate with one another, form clubs, and associate a sense of belongingness to said clubs. This is a wonderful way to instill in, the young skills of leadership, management, and team building, beyond the confines of a classroom. A playground is a hub for social interaction and could also be a hotbed for conflict.
4) Development of self-regulatory abilities
Kids’ physical education games have been said to foster self-regulatory behavior in young children. A pioneer of this theory that playtime plays a key role in a child’s development was the Russian psychologist – Vygotsky. He proposed that while playing, children should practice controlling their mental activity by setting for themselves challenges. This has been backed by recent research, and playtime has proven to be vital in the development of language and vocabulary. There are crucial aids to self-regulation. Physical education games in schools for children between the ages of 6 & 7, that are less structured, have displayed higher scores of self-regulations among children. These activities also help children navigate through their emotions on their own and their ability to retain memory.
Children who can track their mental activities on their own, along with rectifying errors, maintaining their attention, and forming complex mental strategies have gone on to be great academic achievers with a strong cognitive ability and emotional well-being.
5) Physical wellbeing development
Physical education – games and sports for kids help keep children fit and healthy. Regular physical exercise helps the body burn off calories that it does not need. With the changing lifestyles, children are exposed to a lot of junk food and unhealthy diet options. These can be extremely hard to keep them away from, as junk food these days comes with a great amount of advertising and marketing.
When children have physical sports or activities as part of their daily routines, they gain the ability to stay fit and healthy. This also facilitates the absorption of nutrients required by the body and secures cardiovascular health and muscle strength.
A 60-minute exercise every day is recommended for a growing child. Benefits such as Improved reflex, better balance and flexibility, a stronger immune system is attributed to physical education games in schools.
6) Creative Development
A child’s mind is malleable and still developing. One conversation with a child is enough for you to realize that you have taken a detour from reality and are now in a totally made-up world. As young children create castles out of the sand, in their minds the castle is booming with fire-breathing dragons and knights on horses. These stories and imagery will become the foundations of their creative endeavors in the future.
As the Castles are abandoned for games such as ‘the floor is lava,’ A child is learning a crucial fight or flight response to something dangerous. This is also a great way of inculcating problem-solving abilities in children.
The importance of play is not a newfound discovery. This idea and the importance of games and sports in physical education was also spoken off by the Greek philosopher Plato. International organizations such as the UN and European Union have begun developing policies to secure children’s right to play.