Did you know?
- Play is important to healthy brain development 1,2,3
- Parents who learn new ways to play with their child are less likely to lose their temper
- Play helps children build relationships with the key people in their lives
- Children need the same opportunity to play with ALL family members: parents, caregivers, siblings and grandparents.
- Play helps children build the confidence and resiliency they will need to face future challenges. 4,7,12
- Play helps children become joyful, pro-social, and independent.
- Play gives a voice to very young, vulnerable, unheard children
- Play helps children work out stress and strong emotions that can affect how their brain develops.
- Play allows children to use their creativity while developing their imagination
- Play allows children to create and explore a world they can master, conquering their fears
- while practicing adult roles. 4,5,6,7,8,9,10,11
- Undirected play allows children to learn how to work in groups, to share, to negotiate, to resolve conflicts, and to learn self-advocacy skills. 4,7,8,13
- Physically active play builds strength, coordination, cardiovascular fitness and helps reduce childhood obesity. 14-17
1. Shonkoff JP, Phillips DA, eds. From Neurons to Neighborhoods:The Science of Early Childhood Development. Washington, DC:National Academy Press; 2000
2. Frost JL. Neuroscience, play and brain development. Paper presented at: IPA/USA Triennial National Conference; Longmont,CO; June 18–21,1998 at: www.eric.ed.gov/ERICDocs/data/ericdocs2/content_storage_01/0000000b/80/11/56/d6.pdf. Accessed June 22, 2006
3. Tamis-LeMonda CS, Shannon JD, Cabrera NJ, Lamb ME. Fathers and mothers at play with their 2- and 3-year-olds: contributions to language and cognitive development. Child Dev.2004;75:1806–1820
4. Hurwitz SC. To be successful: let them play! Child Educ. 2002/2003;79:101–102
5. Isenberg J, Quisenberry NL. Play: a necessity for all children. Child Educ. 1988;64:138–145
6. Barnett LA. Developmental benefits of play for children. J Leis Res. 1990;22:138–153
7. Erickson RJ. Play contributes to the full emotional development of the child. Education. 1985;105:261–263
8. Pellegrini AD, Smith PK. The development of play during childhood: forms and possible functions. Child Psychol Psychiatry Rev. 1998;3:51–57
9. Flaxman SG. Play: an endangered species? Scholastic Inc. 1999;110:39–41
10. Smith D. How play influences children’s development at homeand school. J Phys Educ Recreation Dance. 1995;66:19–23
11. Tsao L. How much do we know about the importance of play in child development? Child Educ. 2002;78:230–233
12. Band EB, Weisz JR. How to feel better when it feels bad: children’s perspectives on coping with everyday stress. DevPsychol. 1988;24:247 253
13. McElwain EL, Volling BL. Preschool children’s interactions with friends and older siblings: relationship specificity and joint contributions to problem behaviors. J Fam Psychol. 2005;19:486–496
14. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDCP). (2010). The association between school-based physical activity, including physical education, and academic performance. Atlanta, GA: U.S. Department of Health and
15. Dale, D., Corbin, C.B., & Dale, K.S. (2000). Restricting opportunities to be active during school time: Do children compensate by increasing physical activity levels after school? Research Quarterly for Exercise and Sport, 71, 240-248.
16. Simons-Morton, B.G., O’Hara, N.M., Simons-Morton, D.G., & Parcel, G.S. (1987). Children and fitness: A public health perspective. Research Quarterly for Exercise and Sport, 58, 293-302.
17. Waite-Stupiansky, S., & Findlay, M. (2001). The fourth R: Recess and its link to learning. The Educational Forum, 66, 16-25. doi: 10.1080/00131720108984795