Category Archives: Ages and Stages

The Importance of Play in Child Development

We’ve all heard “All work, no play” but for children, the play can also be the work. During childhood development, the activities that may seem less essential to us can have a big impact on their progress. Taking the time to understand the different meaningful aspects in a child’s day could make their actions even clearer to you. 

Recognizing The Importance of Play For Your Child 

Take play for example. It may seem merely like the break that children get from other foremost activities. However, those times are instrumental in your child’s development. The importance of play can be seen in the outstanding benefits on their brain development, muscle development, and even their growing social skills. 

The Importance of Play For Cognitive Development 

Without even realizing it, children aid in their own healthy brain development by participating in play. 

Creative Thinking

The American Academy of Pediatrics explains with regard to the importance of play, “Play allows children to create and explore a world they can master, conquering their fears while practicing adult roles, sometimes in conjunction with other children or adult caregivers.” As children create their own places to explore, they start to understand the world around them. Those thoughts that may not make sense to you are young children making their own sense of the environment. As they make their own ideas and decisions in play, creative thinking allows them to become more confident. Free-play, specifically, allows children to come up with games and explore. Along with that, pretend-play leaves room for those fake scenarios and imaginative characters that children love to dream up on their own. 

Improved Language Development

Children are using their surroundings in learning to speak from the very beginning. Whether it be interactive play with other children or adults, or by themselves, finding new ways to communicate means practicing just that, communication. The National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders (NIH) explains that the best skills develop, “ – in a world that is rich with sounds, sights, and consistent exposure to the speech and language of others.” Play provides just that as children grow in their language development. 

The Importance of Play For Physical Development 

While it may seem obvious that the importance of play would involve physical development, it is amazing to identify the ways in which it occurs. 

Strengthen Muscles

When your child participates in active play, they are able to use different muscle groups and increase coordination at the same time. Even a game as simple as tag gets children active and working their muscles while having a good time doing it. When your child is not feeling as drawn to be active, something they consider play could be the perfect solution.  

Body Composition and Flexibility 

Overall, children are far more flexible than adults. Dr. Paul R. Stricker shares that these changes can also change the sports and activities a child is interested in or even more or less talented at. As they approach puberty, their flexibility changes, along with a multitude of other factors. 

The Importance Of Play For Emotional & Social Development 

Learning Empathy & Impulse Control 

When children engage in play with other children, they must not only practice sharing but also consider the feelings of others. Play allows the opportunity for growth in this by giving children a reason to interact out of a controlled environment. While creating scenarios, children are also learning to see things from another point of view. They learn to see the world as universal rather than an egocentric view. 

Creating Friendships 

Making new friends can be difficult at any age. Children finding ways to interact with their peers stems from the importance of play. Once a child can create a bond through shared interests or activities, they have the chance to develop those emotional and social skills. 

You may have never thought to consider the importance of play to your child’s development. From the brain to the body and even social skills, play has a major role in their life, just as it did in yours. Starting to recognize the importance of play but have a few more questions for a doctor? Find our resources online at https://www.wakeforestpediatrics.com/ or call 

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