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Taking Play Seriously

By Maryann Balogun
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As simple as it may seem, there is more to play than meets the eye. It is a complex activity performed mainly by children for self- amusement and it has behavioural, social and cognitive benefits.

Even though some adults frown at children playing because they could get hurt or mess up their clothes in the process, the fact is that for kids, play time is a whole lot more than just fun and games. It is both a direct and an indirect process through which they learn and acquire new skills for their development.

In recent time, very prominent associations and institutions have been touting the importance and relevance of allowing children play. In fact, the National Literacy Trust (NLT), a charity organisation based in the United Kingdom has cited various benefits of allowing children play, the most important being that, it lays the foundation for literacy.

According to the organisation, Play nurtures development through socialization with other kids, gives children the opportunity to be creative and teaches kids how to be content while playing with themselves or with others.

A research paper, “The Importance of play in early childhood development” published by MontGuide noted that, “Play is a child’s work, play is important for children’s development and for children to bond.

Research has shown that over 75 per cent of brain development occurs after child birth and play has also been acknowledged to increase brain development, as it occurs more during the periods of more rapid brain growth. Play helps by stimulating and developing fine and gross motor skills.

Fine motor skills are actions such as holding and grasping items, while Gross motor skills, when developed, enable children walk, jump and run. Play time not only promotes bonding between children and their caregivers, it also helps kids achieve social, physical, cognitive, intellectual and emotional growth needed for future successes and social integration.

Despite the numerous benefits of play to both parents and children, modern life has drastically reduced the amount of time for Play. Today’s children play a lot less than the generations before them. This is largely due to a variety of factors, such as a faster paced lifestyle, rising number of middle income earners, higher levels of stress, increased attraction to academics, electronic devices and most especially, insecurity.

In recent time, insecurity has encouraged less outdoor play and tight schedules have eroded on play time.

Well, the good times may just be coming back, as Fanta - the delicious fruit drink bursting with exciting flavours is on a mission to regenerate Play time and highlight its importance in the lives of kids and even adults. Fanta cares about the significance of the activity on the growth and development of kids and has always been associated with Play.

With the new Fanta “Play” campaign, Fanta is offering kids the creative opportunity to explore a whole new world of fun, especially with the introduction of its fun, youth -centric characters including, Gigi- the adventurous fun loving and intelligent leader of the pack, Tristan- the cool dude with urban and dapper style, Todd- who seems a little nerdy, independent and is full of life and Floyd- the gadget guy who is always ready to defend his love for music.

Others are Maude -who literally “lives to play” with her amazing ability to turn the dullest location into a party hub, Andy- who is a little more laid back but passionate about skating and riding waves, Lola -who is fun and very competitive in nature and of course, the mysterious Lhava twins, who always seem to know where the fun and action is happening.

Although all the characters are from very diverse backgrounds, they are all united by their love for Play. These amazing characters also offer parents the opportunity to relive their youth by offering them access to the creative and dynamic world of Play. After all, parents are also seen as one of the most important play mates for children.

In the same vein, the fruity flavoured drink through the Fanta Playzone, its signature platform for providing fun activities such as a mobile gaming centre fitted with the latest video game consoles, serves as a platform to immerse young people in the colourful, youthful and imaginative world of Play.

The Fanta Playzone which is a series of fun activities embedded in the Play campaign also comprises activities such as HulaHoops, a sing along competition as well as an opportunity to sample refreshing Fanta at activation points where the Playzone comes alive.

Undoubtedly, kids and parents are in for a swell time in this new world of Fanta ‘Play’ campaign. Let the Play begin!

Disclaimer: "The views/contents expressed in this article are the sole responsibility of Maryann Balogun and do not necessarily reflect those of The Nigerian Voice. The Nigerian Voice will not be responsible or liable for any inaccurate or incorrect statements contained in this article."