The importance of play for babies, toddlers & children under 5

Play is incredibly important — perhaps more so than many people realise — especially during a child’s formative years. That’s why under-fives, in particular, must be given ample time and encouragement to play. Play is incredibly important, especially during a child's formative yearsIn short, allowing a young child the tools, time and guidance to play regularly will help them with many elements of their learning and development — and that’s critical. Indeed, that’s why good nurseries, pre-schools and childcare settings encourage children to learn in large part through play.

“Play is essential to development because it contributes to the cognitive, physical, social, and emotional well-being of children” (Paediatrics Journal)

The Benefits of Play

Regular play, starting from when children are babies, helps children in a myriad of ways as they grow to become first toddlers, then preschoolers, and beyond. The many benefits of play include:

  • Play is an essential part of a happy childhoodFirstly, it’s fun for them and is an essential part of a happy childhood;
  • Play helps babies, toddlers and children to learn about the world around them, by interacting with all the things in it (under adult supervision, of course);
  • Play helps to educate children about themselves, their abilities, strengths, weaknesses, skills and preferences;
  • It teaches them about all the things they interact with too; from size and weight to texture and a variety of other properties;
  • It improves cognitive function and aids healthy brain development;
  • Play helps children to improve their dexterity through fine motor skills like holding, rotating and moving small objects in precise ways to suit their intended outcome, all at the same time as honing their hand-eye coordination;
  • As they grow older, play also helps children to improve and develop their gross motor skills, enabling them to confidently and precisely control their limbs to lift, throw, extend, pull, push, move and eventually walk, run, jump and so on;
  • Play also helps children to learn from their mistakes just as much as from their achievements. That’s an important lesson that we’ve all gone through even into adulthood;
  • Doing so also helps children to get a more balanced view of the potential risks and rewards associated with carefully-considered actions and the comprehension of cause and effect;
  • Regular physical play helps children to remain active and more fit. After all, lying inactive or sat in front of a TV or other electronic screen has the opposite effect;
  • Playing helps children to improve social skills, make friends and form closer bonds with supervising adultsPlay also keeps children mentally fit as it stimulates their senses, brains and sense of adventure;
  • Regular and varied play also helps children to identify their own talents and interests;
  • Play stimulates children’s imaginations, leading to greater creativity and new ways of thinking;
  • Improved problem-solving and critical thinking is a natural, positive outcome of this;
  • Children also learn to interact with others through play, thereby improving social skills including communication, speech, negotiation, teamwork, leadership, cooperation, role-play and so on;
  • Children develop closer bonds through play, including with other children as well as any supervising adults. Through play, friendships naturally form;
  • With all of these benefits, children naturally become more self-confident individuals, becoming more able to tackle things independently i.e. with less need for adult direction;
  • Their emotional development also benefits;
  • Play is also a great way to relieve any stress, even diverting attention away from pain;
  • Playing with children also helps the supervising adult to immerse themselves into their child’s world, becoming more able to see the world from the child’s perspective.

Playing helps children to be more creative and to think differentlyAll in all, play fosters both physical development and mental development in children. Doing so sets them up with improved physical and cognitive abilities as well as incredibly important life skills. Combined, this also sets under-fives up beautifully for school-readiness when they leave pre-school.

We may follow this post up, at a future date, with some suggested play activities and guidance.

One of the Best Nurseries in Willesden, Harlesden & Kensal Green

Treetops Nursery, Willesden, near Harlesden, Kensal Green and Willesden GreenAt Treetops Nursery in Willesden, our childcare professionals create carefully-planned opportunities for play using a huge array of stimulating equipment, facilities and programmes. That’s all part of the learning and development plan that’s customised for each individual baby or child at the nursery. It’s widely accepted that children, particularly the very young, learn best through play. This approach, together with the individual attention of our exceptional childcare professionals, is why little ones absolutely thrive at Treetops. It’s also why Treetops is so popular and in-demand as a nursery and pre-school in the NW10 area.

If you are looking for one of the very best nurseries in Willesden, Willesden Green or close to Harlesden or Kensal Green, please make contact while we still have some childcare spaces available. Please choose an option:

Jolly Jokes for Toddlers & Preschoolers

Continuing the entertainment theme from last month, today’s post looks at some popular jokes for preschoolers and toddlers. These are great for childcare professionals and parents to keep up their sleeves and are sure to bring a smile to children’s faces. Each one passed our own ‘chuckle test’, so are popular with adults too.

Take a look below (click for a larger view) — after all, who doesn’t need a bit of silliness and happy children to brighten the day!

Please feel free to share these on Pinterest, Instagram and other social media and to bookmark them in your web browser. The jokes are downloadable, so can be printed out for display, to brighten everyone’s day any time.

As well as being entertaining, laughter is good for us. It lightens the mood and can cut through anxiety, stress and even pain. We’ll cover many more benefits and the importance of laughter in much more detail in a future post, so watch this space.

Nursery Places in Willesden, near Willesden Green, Harlesden & Kensal Green

The childcare team here at Treetops Nursery hope you and your children enjoy this light-hearted article today. We are an outstanding nursery in Willesden, near Willesden Green, Harlesden and Kensal Green. We offer the highest quality weekday childcare for babies, toddlers and children under five in a safe, secure and well-equipped childcare setting. For more information — or to arrange a visit to the nursery/pre-school for you and your child — please get in contact today:

Willesden’s Place in TV, Song & Modern Culture

It’s surprising how many times Willesden and Willesden Green have made it into modern culture. After a little research, we’ve found that they’ve featured countless times on TV and in several pop songs, they’ve helped to launch careers of a myriad music legends and even shaped the global music industry. Take a look …

Willesden: Regular Filming Location for ‘Jonathan Creek’

Actor and comedian Alan Davies links to Willesden Green via Jonathan CreekWillesden was a major filming location for ‘Jonathan Creek’Willesden and other north-west London areas close by feature regularly in the long-running BBC mystery crime drama Jonathan Creek. This popular series stars actor and comedian Alan Davies as the main protagonist. Other occasional stars who appeared in the series included Griff Rhys Jones, Rik Mayall, Jack Dee (who we’ll hear more about below), Bill Bailey, Nigel Planer and even Bob Monkhouse.

Jack Dee’s ‘Lead Balloon’: Also Filmed in Willesden

Jack Dee's ‘Lead Balloon’ series was filmed in WillesdenActor and dead-pan comedian Jack Dee co-wrote and starred in ‘Lead Balloon’, a BBC4 comedy series that first ran on British TV from 2006 to 2011. The first episode actually achieved the highest ever ratings for a comedy on the channel at the time and the series later aired on BBC2 and to audiences on BBC HD. There were three series in total, with the first two being filmed in and around Willesden. Indeed, the main characters Rick (played by Jack Dee) and his partner Mel (played by Raquel Cassidy) live in a house located in Willesden. A café called ‘Michael’s Café’ in series one and two is, in reality, ‘Gracelands Café’, which is located just a stone’s throw from Willesden in Kensal Green.

‘Minder’ Used Willesden as a Film Location

Minder used Willesden as a film location (photo shows Dennis Waterman)Willesden also features in the British TV comedy-drama ‘Minder’ that was extremely popular on ITV/Thames Television from late 1979 through to the mid-90s. One of the two key protagonists, Arthur Daley (played by George Cole), kept a lock-up garage in Willesden and this is where he kept all his merchandise. He also did many of his deals in and around the area. One episode of Minder was even called ‘Willesden Suite’. No less than 10 series aired in total, making George Cole and Dennis Waterman into household names.

‘The Last Detective’: Filmed in Willesden, Harlesden & North London

The Last Detective was filmed in Willesden, Harlesden & North London‘The Last Detective’ was another extremely popular British TV drama that ran for 4 series between 2003 and 2007. The main protagonist was ‘Dangerous Davies’, a Detective Constable played by Peter Davison. ‘Dangerous Davies’ was, in fact, the series of books upon which the TV drama was based. Filming of episodes often took place in Willesden, Harlesden and other parts of north/north-west London. Indeed, episode 4 (s.3) was called ‘Willesden Confidential’ and episode 3 (s.4) was called ‘A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to Willesden’.

How Zomba Records links Willesden to Britney Spears, Lady Gaga, Shania Twain & Many Other Pop Icons

Moving now to music, it’s incredible how big a part Willesden has quietly played in the history of modern music. Back in the 1970s, right in the middle of the British punk movement, Willesden became the birthplace of Zomba Records. The name is incredibly important within the music industry as it subsequently became the launchpad of many stellar careers and household names across the globe.Britney Spears is just one of many global artists discovered via the legacy of a Willesden record company Zomba was widely accepted to be the most successful independent music company (The Zomba Music Corporation sold for literally billions eventually). Along the way, Zomba bought legendary music company Rough Trade and itself eventually became owned by BMG, then later Sony Music Entertainment under the RCA/Jive Label Group umbrella and later still its artists moved across to Epic Records. One of the original founders of Zomba is a certain Mutt Lange, who became a legendary producer (later marrying Shania Twain) who has worked with Def Leppard, The Boomtown Rats, Huey Lewis and the News, Britney Spears, Nickelback, Maroon 5, Bryan Adams, Celine Dion, The Corrs, Billy Ocean, Lady Gaga, Muse, AC/DC, Foreigner, Tina Turner, Backstreet Boys, The Cars and many more. Music genres cover everything from rap and hip-hop to pop and rock. From humble beginnings, this Willesden company influenced music and culture around the entire world.

Willesden, Morgan Studios & Their Links to Countless Music Legends

Morgan Studios was a very influential and successful music company that started life in Willesden, working with music legends including Led Zeppelin and many more‘Morgan Studios’ was another very influential and successful music company that started life in Willesden, pre-dating Zomba, back in the 1960s. They went on to work with huge names like Free, Blind Faith, Led Zeppelin, Supertramp, Paul McCartney, Wings, Rod Stewart, Yes, Black Sabbath, Jethro Tull, Cat Stevens, Pink Floyd, Carly Simon, Alice Cooper, Lou Reed, The Who, The Jam, The Cure, The Stone Roses, Thin Lizzy, The Kinks (more about them below), Squeeze, Gary Moore, Peter Gabriel, Bonnie Tyler, Elton John, and many more household names. The recording studios were based at 169-171 High Road, Willesden, being owned originally by Barry Morgan, the drummer in successful bands like ‘Blue Mink’ and others. Interestingly, in 1980, Morgan Studios were sold half to Zomba (see above) and half to Robin Millar CBE who, four years later, produced the seminal album ‘Diamond Life’ by Sade. He is also a legendary music executive, who worked with many other huge names including Eric Clapton, Sting, Herbie Hancock, Elvis Costello, Bruce Hornsby, Malcolm McLaren and Alison Moyet to name just a few.

One of The Kinks' most famous songs ‘Lola’ was also recorded in Willesden, at Morgan Studios.

The Kinks’ Links to Willesden & Willesden Green

One of The Kinks’ most famous songs ‘Lola’ was also recorded at Morgan Studios, in Studio 1. Soon after, in 1971, a film came out starring Britt Ekland, Denholm Elliot and Elke Sommer. It was a British comedy called Percy and its soundtrack featured a slow, bluesy song penned by Ray Davies and, of course, performed by The Kinks. Called ‘Willesden Green’, it is apparently the only Kinks song sung by the band’s bass player (John Dalton a.k.a. ‘Nobby’). It’s lyrics showed a real fondness for Willesden Green and featured the following:

Well I tried to settle down Fulham Broadway
And I tried to make my home in Golders Green
But I gotta get that train
And go back home again
Oh how I miss the folks back home in Willesden Green

You know, I tried, I really tried to settle in this big city
And I always thought I could make it all on my very own
But there’s one thing that keeps calling me
To that little, that little semi-detached
That’s the folks, yeah, the folks back home
In Willesden Green.

Have a listen here (skip the ad’s):

 

It’s amazing how significant a part Willesden and nearby areas like Willesden Green, Harlesden and north-west London have played in modern culture. Yet we have only scratched the surface in this article! We hope that you found this article of interest. Please feel free to bookmark it and to share widely on social media if so.

Treetops Nursery — Another Legendary Place in Willesden!

This article was brought to you by the blogging team here at Treetops Nursery. We invite parents of babies, toddlers and under-five children in the area to consider the nursery for their childcare needs. If you are searching for an outstanding nursery or pre-school for weekday childcare in Willesden or near Willesden Green, Kensal Green or Harlesden, Treetops Nursery would make a great choice. Facilities are superb and the setting certainly ticks all the right boxes. Please contact us for more details or to arrange a visit by choosing from the following:

Image credits: Jack Dee: photo by Ed g2s, CC BY-SA 4.0. The Kinks: photo by W. Veenman, CC BY-SA 3.0 NL. Britney Spears: photo by Glenn Francis, CC BY-SA 4.0. Led Zeppelin: main image and thumbnail photos both by p_a_h (flickr user), CC BY 2.0. Other photos shown are either in the public domain or used under Fair Use guidelines.