What do six- to nine-year-olds play?

      During these industrious years, play is very important to children. They need unstructured time for exciting, challenging activities – sports, games, hobbies, toys, and pretending. Play can be anything a child does that’s interesting and enjoyable.

      Six- to nine-year-olds spend time riding bikes and scooters, playing with action figures or dolls, sledding, skating, playing ball, making crafts, using the computer, playing video games or board games, and getting together in groups. They incorporate their friends’ thoughts and ideas into play and are much more cooperative than they once were. Because kids this age are less egocentric, they have an easier time getting along and sharing. However, they still need reminders about treating each other fairly and including others in their play.

      Young elementary-aged children enjoy exploring and becoming more independent. They may discover new paths or secret places near home, or ride their bikes to friends’ homes. They enjoy describing what they’ve seen and may exaggerate their adventures. They also like spending time at playgrounds with large, imaginative pieces of equipment, and going to children’s museums with hands-on exhibits.

      Many kids continue to play with their old toys, but in new ways. Games are more elaborate and often planned in advance. Children may expand on favorite themes like house, war, good-guy/bad-guy, school. They also make up spontaneous games.

      They often play out real experiences or feelings. In pretend “school,” a child can be the teacher and fantasize about having control: “Now class, you didn’t turn in your work, so no recess today!” When they play house, they take roles that make them feel comfortable. One might choose to be a decision-making parent while another wants to be a baby who cries and needs nurturing. War games let children feel temporarily strong and powerful. Some parents object to imaginary violence. One parent was upset to hear her eight-year-old tell a friend, “Let’s play that terrorists are attacking.” Pretend fighting games are a normal part of play. If parents are watchful, such games won’t get out of control.         

      Many kids get involved in big, dramatic projects – building a fort or a tree-house, designing a haunted house or a house out of blankets, putting on a puppet show, or creating a garden. They thrive on these activities and proudly show off the results.

      If your child has an interest in such projects, offer him support. If, for example, he wants to build, help him find materials. He’ll make good use of large boxes, scraps of wood, tires, rope sheets, and blankets. Once he’s carried out a large project on his own, he’ll feel successful and competent.

      In one neighborhood, kids wanted to put on a play. Parents provided dress-up clothes and paper and paints, and the children spent a week preparing and rehearsing. In another neighborhood, several children used scraps of wood to build a clubhouse. The project lasted much of the summer and parents were involved only as a supervisor making sure the building was safe. When the kids finished their project, they not only had a clubhouse, but a strong sense of satisfaction and accomplishment.

Picture Credit : Google