10 Facts About Play

Did you know?

  1. Play is important to healthy brain development 1,2,3
  2. Parents who learn new ways to play with their child are less likely to lose their temper
  3. Play helps children build relationships with the key people in their lives
  4. Children need the same opportunity to play with ALL family members: parents, caregivers, siblings and grandparents.
  5. Play helps children build the confidence and resiliency they will need to face future challenges. 4,7,12
  6. Play helps children become joyful, pro-social, and independent.
  7. Play gives a voice to very young, vulnerable, unheard children
  8. Play helps children work out stress and strong emotions that can affect how their brain develops.
  9. Play allows children to use their creativity while developing their imagination
  10. Play allows children to create and explore a world they can master, conquering their fears
  11. while practicing adult roles. 4,5,6,7,8,9,10,11
  12. 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
  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

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