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June 9, 2021

Are You Prioritizing Play? Here’s Why You Should Be –


We all know that play is a big part of being a child, but have you ever questioned why you should prioritize play? Research shows that 75% of the brain develops after a child is born. When stimulation occurs, the brain builds new connections or reinforces previously established connections between the nerve cells.

Naturally, the more stimulation the brain receives, the more developed the brain becomes. And, surprise surprise, play provides the majority of the stimulation the brain receives to develop. That is why playing is so important in early childhood.

Now that I have your attention, let’s take a look at what specific skills your child develops when they play. By the end of this post you will feel inspired to prioritize play even more than you already do in your child’s everyday life because understand how beneficial play is for brain development. Let’s take a look!

Play Develops Social Skills

When your child plays in a group setting they are learning how to make friends and interact with peers. Through trial and error they will learn how to communicate, how to be cooperative and put others’ needs first.

They will learn how to share and take turns, how to negotiate, how to resolve conflicts & set boundaries. Playing with friends creates a sense of belonging, which is something all of us need no matter how old we are.

Play Boosts Educational Performance

Play also helps your child develop language, reasoning skills, and motor & visual perceptual skills. Furthermore,  play can provide an opportunity to practice math and reading skills, and encourages autonomous thinking and innovation. Lastly, play increases your child’s ability to focus (especially active play such as chasing or climbing).

Play Encourages Emotional Development

When your child plays with others they have countless opportunities to develop coping skills, self-esteem, persistence, and effective self-regulation. Play also increases your child’s ability to control their behaviors.

Play Improves Mental Health

Last but not least, play is incredibly beneficial for your child’s mental health. Some of these benefits include a decrease in cortisol levels, improvements in quality of sleep, increases in flexible thinking & physical health, and a rise in endorphins.

Clearly play is crucial for our children’s development. As busy adults it’s easy to forget to prioritize play for our children – and ourselves! Making adjustments to our routines to ensure there is enough time for us to play is guaranteed to make a difference.

Luckily for us, there is no wrong way to play, and I encourage you to not let a lack of equipment or space keep you from playing. Sometimes some of the best games simply use a cardboard box & and imagination. We have a few resources in our free resource library that could come in handy when it comes to initiating play. Our ‘Animal Walk Cards’ are a fun way to encourage kiddos to get in muscle work (read more about about the reasoning behind that in this blog post), but – you could use these cards to inspire an imaginary animal game. Additionally, we have a workbook filled with sensory rich activities that are always fun to do Make sure you check out these resources in our Free Resource Library

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