Some important features of play identified in MCI Module2 (2009) are:
The importance of play is not the result but the child's interest in doing the activity for long period without any results. The main focus of the child is the process involved, not the end product. An interesting play or activity is the one that involves the child fully and his/her body co-operates fully with his/her mind. Thus, the child interacts with the environment drawing his/her own ideas and motivation. For example: swinging, jumping, and playing on slide.
Play is something that a child selects on hisher own. He/she cannot be made to play forcefully. For example: My 3-year-old daughter loves to play with her kitchen set daily.
Children use their own experiences and negotiate their own rule for their play. There is no fixed rule to be followed. Children make the rules and are unable to follow 'the rule of the game and activities'. Roles are identities children assume in play. Some roles are functional: necessary for a certain theme. For example, taking a trip requires passengers and a driver. Family roles such as mother, father and baby are popular, and are integrated into elaborate play with themes related to familiar home activities.
Play is inherent quality in children. They should be actively involved in the activity, which is very important for their development. The role of adult is to provide an atmosphere and an environment where the children are encouraged to play. Freedom (within limit) is very important which helps the children to learn from play, which is vitally important for their healthy development. Learning through play is the process through which the child experiences his/her environment.
'Playing is the way in which a child learns'(MCI Module2, 2009, p82). Playing contributes to child growth as these play activities lead to learning experiences and thereby maturation. These changes contribute to child's overall development that is physical, intellectual, emotional, linguistic and social development. At birth, the infant is a pioneer setting forth to explore a very new and very strange place. She he does not know how the world works. Infants are born beginners in life. At birth their five senses are working. At first shehe has little muscular control over her/his body. By the end of the first year shehe begins to coordinate the use of hisher hands and soon is able to go everywhere on their own two feet, playing with their own hands. As children grow, they start developing creative, imaginative and spontaneous play thereby exploring their early childhood years. Creative play is a type of play where the child uses hisher own imagination like sand play, painting, making shapes through dough etc. Imaginative play is also a type where children imagine their real life experience through innovative ways in the form of play such as playing with doll, taking care of doll like mother, farming in the garden etc.