Benefits of Play

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A play and its importance in childhood development

A play is an activity of amusement performed by people of all ages but especially by children. It represents the most crucial aspects of a child's physical, social, and intellectual development. Children interact with adults through play in a teaching and learning mode. Such interaction with children with the exchange of ideologies and thinking improves the child's motivation in both interest and everything they learn. Children gain interest in learning new things about a particular topic through personal interaction with an adult regarding the issue. All children engaged in plays, except for the malnourished or those living with severe disabilities and low social skills, deal with the rejection from peers thus become aggressive (Schmitt, Hurwitz, Duel and Linebarger, 2018).

Types of play and their significance

There are different types of play that children are engaged in as they grow including unoccupied, independent, cooperative, and onlooker plays. Some of them are purposeful while others are not; they all meet individual learning goals of the child.

When children play, they establish themselves physically and cognitively. Independent play is also known as single play. The child usually plays alone without referring to whatever other people are doing. Such stage sometimes is not identified depending on the temperament of the child. Most children will start playing alone at the corners, and when they begin to run around, nature becomes their favorite playmate. The stage is essential as it helps one to realize self and be capable of coping with others. Once the child is comfortable with himself, then bonding with other children is easy. Open-ended and imaginative toys are recommended at the stage.

During an onlooker play, the child does not interact with other children but observes them play. As the children grow, they begin to notice others play. The stage is seemingly inactive but remains significant one. The potential of a child's play with other kids dictates the way he/she befriends and the life at school. Babies can also learn from adults when they play. For example, by performing the piano, the child becomes excited and learns speech through the music. There are extensive examples of the way one can teach the baby to playing excellent and enjoyable such as, babies can have a fun day and watch other kids play. Parallel plays involve the child playing beside other children as opposed to playing with them; they may often share toys with complaints. It is the last stage at which the child is able to connect with others. Examples of this play include stacking blocks.

During associated play, the kid mixes with other children play, but their play is not directed to a specific goal. Through purposeful play lack, in this case, the art of taking turns is a goal that is achieved in this type of play. Babies at the age of three can handle small toys, and therefore adding low-mess arts such as geared toys in the child's life is beneficial at this stage. The cooperative play comes in handy regarding teamwork. The child usually plays with others for a particular purpose. Such play serves at the last developmental stage. A cooperative child can handle classroom work, sports activities or a school project. The children interact and communicate with each other, which improves their social life.

Learning through play and its benefits

Children can learn through all the different types of play. Toddlers will often seem playful by repeating words while three-year children will tend to be humorous in their use of the language (Walsh, 2016). Language skills including grammar, semantics, and speech sounds are usually developed before the child joins the school. The most substantial part of language learning is linked to social-dramatic play.

The research shows that there are some benefits of play where the children learn across the developmental areas. When children play, they develop their intellectual skills. They use strategies such as imitation and imagination both of which require cognitive skills. They employ thinking, emotions, and motivation, which establish vital for brain functioning connections. Intellectual, thinking, memory, and literacy skills have been associated with play. Play bears creative skills such as thinking, imagination, and other problem-solving ones.

A play also has some social and emotional outcomes. Different researches have proved that a play helps to build social and emotional skills that keep positive relationships firm. In such a way the children learn to moderate their behavior, understanding others as well as obtaining the sense of independence. When adults play with infants, there is the creation of a strong bond in the children. Children gain empathy by appreciating the desires, emotions, and the look of others during play. They also learn to solve problems critically through collaborating and cooperating in the sharing of ideas (Walsh, 2016).

A play has been linked to physical health where an active play will enhance the development of physical skills and health benefits as a result of energy usage and ameliorated metabolism (Hoornand and Alward, 2014). Moreover, such play can result in wellness feeling that improves mental health. Play is associated with pleasure and satisfaction.

Creating a conducive environment for play

Children spend most of their time and energy in play giving rise to learning opportunities and other developmental benefits. Caregivers and parents engage and interact with the babies playfully until the child is at the age of six and is able to play in groups. Play can include locomotion where the children exercise through running or climbing where they practice intense body activity and muscle training for endurance, strength and gaining skills in physical coordination (Wood, 2014). Children can also play using such objects as toys, bricks, and in such a way they learn to solve problems, exercise the freedom to explore new combinations, and gain creativity.

Adults provide children with objects to play and a conducive, safe, and secure environment. They can introduce the components with both aesthetic and beauty, providing adequate and accessible resources which the children can use in their play. The staff involved in early childhood education must incorporate different structures in the play that give it added educational value by including colors and patterns games, puzzles, and materials such as sand. The structured play involves the use of unique props and the development of the child's imagination abilities (Schmitt and Linebarger, 2018).


To conclude the above mentioned, a play is considered to be important for the childhood development, and it remains a key to the realization of different abilities through learning. Play training improves language development, creativity, role-taking, and the development of cognitive skills. Children should be allowed to play freely as well as with adults. Since all types of play offer significant opportunity levels to the children, there should be a well-structured program combing all the different kinds of play giving rise to structured and free play. There is a gap where the research needs to be conducted regarding the balance between the different types of play.


A play is an activity performed by people of all ages with excitement and often aims to build the children's intellectual development, physical fitness, and realization of social skills. Children are usually engaged in play during their childhood when they are allowed to play freely or under adult inspection. Adults provide the babies with toys and a suitable environment needed for them to play and learn.

Children up to 3 years tend to play with adults or alone, but by the age of six, they develop social networks and begin to play in groups. A play is an integral part of a child's development as it helps to create the mental and physical status of the children that are useful for the entire life. Infants begin to be excited by every object they see and start to play with toys by the age of three. They learn to become socially connected and embrace other fundamental problem-solving skills when they undertake physical activities together. Children also learn by observing the play of others and emulating their behaviors, which is a crucial step to learning and attaining coordination in events.

Some children will not feel free when they are engaged in play with other kids; and thus they play alone while others will play in groups cooperatively. With the help of play, children start to appreciate nature and embrace co-existence. The establishment of children's play provides vital knowledge and skills required by the child in social and harmonious existence context in life. During play, children develop various skills and learn something, therefore such activity remains a key one at the development stages of children's lives.


Schmitt, K.L., Hurwitz, L.B., Duel, L.S. and Linebarger, D.L.N., 2018. Learning through play: the impact of web-based games on early literacy development. Computers in Human Behavior, 81, pp.378-389.

Van Hoorn, J.L., Monighan-Nourot, P., Scales, B. and Alward, K.R., 2014. Play at the center of the curriculum. California: Pearson.

Walsh, P., 2016. Early childhood playgrounds: planning an outside learning environment. London: Routledge.

Wood, E.A., 2014. Free choice and free play in early childhood education: troubling the discourse. International Journal of Early Years Education, 22(1), pp.4-18.

August 14, 2023
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Development Play

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