Play and Child Development Go Hand in Hand

 Play and child development is so important. Did you know that encouraging play encourages a child's healthy development? Here are tips from a mother of six.

Do you know that encouraging play facilitates a child’s development? In fact, it is one of the best ways to promote healthy child development.

Child’s Play Is Essential to Healthy Development

We’ve all heard the term, “Oh, that’s child’s play.” It implies something is easy, frivolous and unimportant in the overall scheme of things. But for a child, child’s play is essential to their mental, social, emotional, and physical development.

We all know that children like to play. But what we may not know is the importance of play in a child’s life. Play is essential to every area of a child’s growth and development.

Play and Child Development of the Sensory Motor Systems

Free and structured play time provides a means for energy to be put to use. It strengthens and refines small and large motor skills, and it builds stamina and strength. Sensory learning develops mostly through play. Play is significant to physical development in that without it the body could not grow and develop normally.

Encourage Free Play by Fostering Curiosity in Children

Children possess a natural curiosity. They, explore, learn and make sense out of their environment by playing. Parents and educators alike can support this learning activity by ensuring age-appropriate toys, materials and environments are available to the child.

Play enables children to know things about the world and to discover information essential to learning. Through play children learn basic concepts such as colors, counting, how to build things, and how to solve problems. Thinking and reasoning skills are at work every time a child engages in some type of play.

Limit Screen Time to Allow for Free Play Time

Research indicates that higher levels of screen time were associated with poor performance on a screening measure assessing children’s achievement of development milestones. When young children are observing screens, they are missing important opportunities to practice and achieve social, motor, and communication skills.

If you have activities that are ready to go for when children unplug, it is so much easier. Kids love to do puzzles or play pretend.

Get screen free ideas for play here.

Friendships and Play

Children learn to relate to one another, negotiate roles, share, and obey rules through play. They also learn how to belong to a group and how to be part of a team. A child obtains and retains friends through play.

Play and Emotional Regulation

Play fulfills many needs including a sense of accomplishment, successfully giving and receiving attention, and the need for self-esteem. It helps them develop a strong sense of self, and is emotionally satisfying to them. They learn about fairness, and through pretending learn appropriate ways of expressing emotion such as anger, fear, frustration, stress and discover ways of dealing with these feelings.

So encourage your children to play. Color pictures, make finger paintings, build buildings and imaginary cities with blocks, and build a tent in the middle of the living room and go camping! Childhood is so fleeting and in today’s fast paced society we need to make sure we slow down and give children the gift of play time.


Madigan S, Browne D, Racine N, Mori C, Tough S. Association Between Screen Time and Children’s Performance on a Developmental Screening Test. JAMA Pediatr. Published online January 28, 2019. doi:10.1001/jamapediatrics.2018.5056

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 Play and child development is so important. Did you know that encouraging play encourages a child's healthy development? Here are tips from a mother of six.