Play is one of the most natural and important phases in the development of children. The child is so to speak born ‘programmed’ to play. Play can be defined as any activity that a child chooses to do and has fun whilst doing. Research has shown that playing acts as a great motivation to learning. Playing helps the brain to develop and specialize each of its functions. Through playing, constructing, manipulating, exploring, etc., children are able to use their senses to explore and learn, and to develop gross and fine movements, language and communication, and social and cognitive skills. Creative play and fantasy play furthermore provide a great support for the child to express him/herself. Simultaneously, playing is also a great way to channel the child’s overflow of energy.
SEP has observed the lack of toys and more specifically the lack of adapted toys during project and home visits. Children who need special attention are often ignored or restricted to an unexciting environment without toys to play with and face limitations due to their various disabilities. They are often idle and bored. Toys that are available or are donated are usually fluffy toys or comfort dolls which with time pose health risks as it is hard to keep them clean. Lack of play which helps with brain stimulation can lead to developmental delays. To summarize, every child needs to play!