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Why Is Play So Important?

Why Is Play So Important

With today’s world becoming even more competitive, it’s tempting to have kids do nothing but study. But that could prove detrimental to their academic and emotional development, putting them at a distinct disadvantage. 

Especially for younger children, play helps boost social and emotional development. By playing with both adults and other children, kids learn about boundaries, build empathy, create bonds, and understand how the world around them works. 

But what is play, exactly? Children naturally engage in play, like make-believe games, storytelling, and pretend, and researchers have uncovered certain types of play that can encourage cognitive development for kids of all ages.

Small-world play

With small-world play, children use miniatures, either specially-made toys or found objects (dolls, stones, Legos, etc.), to act out scenes from movies, books, and real life. By acting out these stories using props, children work through their emotions about the triumphs and challenges they encounter. Small-world play also helps kids understand how to problem-solve in a safe environment. 

Messy play

For young children, messy play gives them a wide range of sensory experiences and practice with critical motor skills like pouring, mixing, and scooping. By doing activities like finger-painting and playing in a sandbox, they can also experiment with color-mixing, hand-eye coordination, and working with different shapes and textures. It can also be a safe way for children to explore uncomfortable emotions, like anger, sadness, and fear.

Sensory play

Both children and adults learn best when they use all of their senses. Sensory play activities, like “guess the tune” (hearing) and “I spy” (sight), engage some or all of the five senses in a way that builds a child’s cognitive abilities. Additionally, when playing with a partner or as a team, children learn to work together and to value different perspectives. ​

Construction play

Construction toys range from simple building blocks to complex robotic systems, but every type helps children develop their problem-solving skills, spatial skills, hand-eye coordination, and creative and divergent thinking. Whether a child is building something simple or a functioning piece of robotic engineering, the skills they use to construct something will prove valuable in school and life.​

At the American School of Creative Science at Al Layyah, one of the best American curriculum schools in Sharjah, we encourage a holistic approach to learning that includes play. Our Learning Resource Centre has multimedia facilities to keep students engaged with subjects outside the classroom and our indoor and outdoor playground facilities let children enjoy all kinds of play.

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