Why Play is Important in Child Development
Parents want to give the best opportunities to their children. Music lessons, language lessons, extra tutoring, after school learning programs, the list can go on and on. We all want to give our kids the advantages and opportunities to succeed and/or perhaps we didn’t have as children. All of those activities are wonderful opportunities. However, play sometimes gets a bad reputation as being frivolous. On the contrary, play is very important in child development! If you want to learn more, the American Academy of Pediatrics released a report about the importance of play in promoting healthy child development (read here). Play can reduce stress and anxiety for kids AND adults so make some time to get silly! The National Lekotek Center , a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization, provides an array of services to improve the lives of children with special needs through the utilization of toys and play. They have 20 wonderful reasons to encourage play for ALL Children.
Top 20 Reasons to Encourage Play for ALL children
- Play advances many cognitive skills like learning to focus and paying attention to details.
- Play produces an active, alert, but non-stressed frame of mind that benefits a child greatly.
- Play opportunities help a child develop problem-solving, organizational and planning skills.
- Play promotes both long-term and short-term memory.
- Play stimulates language, negotiation and communication skills.
- Play teaches a child how the world works from gravity to how things move, float or fly.
- Play experiences allow a child to explore symbolic play, imitation and his own creativity.
- Play allows a child to build confidence, one trip down a slide or throw of a ball at a time.
- Play provides the feedback a child needs to develop self-knowledge and self-esteem.
- Play is an excellent way for a child to connect to nature and to explore its many facets.
- Active play can enhance a child’s mood, coping abilities and defuse emotionally charged events.
- Play teaches the cornerstones of relationship building, cooperation and compromise.
- Leadership along with group skills are learned through team or collective play.
- Active play promotes a healthy body for children and lowers their risk of obesity.
- Play promotes brain development through the use of both the body and mind.
- Play can teach a child the lessons of strengthening and balancing his body and coordinating his hands and eyes.
- Play stimulates resiliency by prompting the child to try again and learn patience towards self and others.
- Play fosters courage to swing higher and jump farther.
- Play teaches empathy by allowing a child to explore the role of both winner and loser.
- Play leads to engagement and enjoyment that provides a child with both physical and emotional release.