Play is critical to healthy human development. Research shows that children are at their highest level of development when they are at play. As the foundation of learning, play helps to develop children’s physical, social, cognitive, communicative and sensory needs, while providing emotional fulfillment and enjoyment.
It is important for teachers and recreation professionals to advocate for play initiatives and effectively communicate how investing in play results in healthy outcomes.
- Play allows children to use their creativity while developing their imagination, dexterity and physical, cognitive, and emotional strength.
- Play is important to brain development.
- Play allows children to create and explore a world they can master, conquering their fears while practicing adult roles.
- Play helps children develop new competencies that lead to enhanced confidence and the resiliency they will need to face challenges.
- Undirected play allows children to learn how to work in groups, to share, to negotiate and to resolve conflicts.
- Some play must remain child-driven, children practice decision making, move at their own pace, discover their own areas of interest, and engage fully in the passions they wish to pursue. When adults constantly control play, children revert to adult rules and concerns and lose some benefits of free play, particularly in developing creativity, leadership, and group skills.
- Play builds active, healthy bodies.
- Play provides a forum for parents and children to joyfully interact, bond and engage in recreation together, which is critical for all children and especially children in underserved areas.