Oct 9, 2013

“Let’s play again Mama” : The importance of play in a child’s upbringing- Part 1

by Amina Edota

Part 2
Part 3


''Play is truly the work of childhood''

Three year old Hamza called after his mother, his soft voice filled with excitement. ''Mama, Mama....'' he repeated, his voice getting louder. She turned briefly to look back at him even as she prepared to head out of the play area. Their play session, though very fulfilling, had sapped the little energy she had left in her, and she was already thinking about some of the house work that needed to be done before prayer time or before the baby wakes up. She was trying hard to pay attention to him.

''Yes Hamza dear!'', she managed to reply as calmly as possible.

''Let's play again, Mama! Pleasssssse!'', Hamza said.

That stopped her in her tracks, she slowly turned around smiling and with a heart full of love walked over to where he was standing and gave him a big hug. He hugged her back, as she reflected on the last twenty minutes they had spent together. While Mama was ready to put her feet up, Hamza was only just getting started.

Children are undeniably a source of joy and happiness in every home. They cause chaos, mischief, laughter and bring smiles to faces around them. They can be messy, loud, difficult and very playful; yet open, forgiving and cheerful. We have been commanded to give priority to our families and children. They count as valuable investments for the present as well as the future; and ultimately the hereafter.

One single notable characteristic of all children is that they are quite playful. They love to play, naturally have a lot of energy, and are very physically active. Playing has many benefits in the life of a child, especially active play. While many parents and adults may consider playing to be nothing more than meaningless activities or a waste of time, it is in reality such activities that help children develop their intellectual function and thus making it an important part of the learning process.

Did you know that research shows that the experiences during the first five years of a child’s life have a major influence on his or her future successes and general aspects of a healthy rewarding life?

What then can be more important than investing resources and time into knowing how to effectively utilise the early formative period and even beyond?

Each one of you is a shepherd and each of you is responsible for his flock. The leader is a shepherd and is responsible for his flock; a man is the shepherd of his family and is responsible for his flock; a woman is the shepherd in the house of her husband and is responsible for it. Each of you is a shepherd and is responsible for his flock. 
(Bukhari and Muslim) 

To Play or not to Play 

Playing is the means by which children learn - how they experience their world, practice new skills, and internalize new ideas. It is therefore the essential ''work of children''.

We have many examples from the life of our beloved Prophet Salallahu Alayhi Wasallam, who was fond of children and would often be found playing with them. There was time he was seen crawling on his hands and knees while Al-Hasan and Al-Hussein were riding on his back and he used to say:

''The best riders are you and the best camel is yours.'' 
(Sahih Muslim) 

In another narration, it was reported that the Prophet Salallahu Alayhi Wasallam used to line up the sons of Al-Abbas (Abdullah, Ubaydullah and Kuthayyir) and say:

''Whoever reaches me first, I will give him such-and-such.'' So they would race towards him and jump on his back and chest, kissing him.


To be continued In Sha Allah......

I'd love to hear your views on this topic. Please post in the comments section below!


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