Why Every Child Needs to Play

Why Every Child Needs to Play

the importance of play in child development
SSDA USA is here to tell you about the importance of play in child development.

Some people may think that playing with their children is a waste of time. They deem such activities as frivolous and unproductive. This could not be further from the truth. In fact, playing helps children develop their physical, social, and cognitive faculties. There are plenty of reasons children should play. SSDA USA is here with the scoop on the importance of play in child development.

Cognitive Development

Play is incredibly important in children’s cognitive development. Whether playing with parents or peers, children can bolster their ability to pay attention and behave appropriately in various settings, including the classroom. With continued play over the long term, these faculties will strengthen. Without play, children become disadvantaged in these regards.Furthermore, the benefits of play include improved executive functioning (the process of learning), greater language skills, and better early math skills. In fact, independent play at an early age is more effective than childhood instructional videos. Play also allows increased mental flexibility and resilience, greater emotional stability, creativity, and multitasking faculties.

Social Skills

An integral part of play is social interaction, and because of this, children that play more have improved social skills. When children play with parents or with peers, they learn how to bond with other people. They learn what behaviors are socially acceptable, the importance of teamwork and cooperation, problem-solving skills, conflict-resolution skills, and other key social skills that become even more important as they grow. Play can also enhance children’s reasoning skills and their ability to put themselves in hypothetical scenarios, teaching them to think outside the box naturally.

Play can be especially helpful for children with disabilities. A healthy level of play helps children cope with stress. Children with chronic or life-threatening illnesses surely could especially use some stress relief. Play helps lower the body’s levels of cortisol (a stress hormone) and releases oxytocin, a feel-good hormone crucial for social development. This is because play allows both children and parents to escape reality and immerse themselves in imaginative and joyful scenarios.

According to one study, “Every child needs to play in order to develop oneself and to form a distinctive personality.” Moreover, “Play is not just about having fun but about taking risks, experimenting, and testing boundaries.” This isn’t a trivial matter – it’s a critical component of child development.

Academic Performance

Some curricula have increased academic pressure on children in preschool and elementary school. As a result, many schools have reduced recess time, or cut recess altogether. Because of this, children have less time to play, and supposedly have more time to study. However, more study time and less recess time does not correlate with higher academic success.

In fact, the importance of play in child development extends deeply into the classroom. Recess is a necessary part of academic performance. When children learn through play, they are more ready to engage in academic activities with zeal and ardor. Allowing adequate amounts and types of play contributes to socio-emotional skills, academic success, economic success, and an overall more positive sense of well-being as children mature.

Physical Health

Outdoor play and physical activity can contribute to positive benefits such as proper bone and muscle functioning. Additionally, regular physical exercise can lower risk of childhood obesity. Additionally, exercise can help with the prevention of disease as well as the recovery from such diseases. Physical activity also helps promote proper growth – and this is throughout life, not just in the short term.

Another awesome benefit of exercise and outdoor play is that it stimulates the brain and releases growth factors and can boost immune system function. As increased oxygen goes to the brain during physical activity, dopamine and other feel-good chemicals get released, and long-term outdoor play can help with decision-making and emotional health.

To be clear, outdoor play and engaging with nature is much more effective than indoor play with electronic devices. One study has shown that children that play outdoors more often have better distance vision than those who do not. This is because playing outdoors engages possibly all sensory faculties. They get to see the sky, smell the flowers, hear the wind, touch the grass, and taste the (parent-approved) berries from bushes. Children who play with iPads or other electronic devices, however, only use two to three of their sensory faculties – sight, hearing, and sometimes touch.

Don’t forget – outdoor physical activity also boosts the following:

  • Gross motor skills – games such as hop-scotch and tag encourage children to make the most of their motor capacities with large movements that require many actions.
  • Fine motor skills – certain playgrounds encourage children to press buttons, turn wheels, and interact in other ways that require careful and precise contact.
  • Overall health – Getting sunlight is essential for healthy vitamin D levels, helps regulate melatonin levels and proper sleep cycles, and can help guard against depression.

Concerned For Your Child’s Health?

It’s well established that play is essential for child development. It helps children physically, mentally, emotionally, socially, and in other ways. However, what’s even more important is making sure you have the resources to take care of your child. This is especially true if they have a disability.

If you or someone you know needs help filing for social security disability benefits, contact Social Security Disability Advocates USA right away! We have professional attorneys that know how to fight for your benefits. Contact us anytime via an online form or through our LiveChat feature. Additionally, you can call us at 602-952-3200 to get in touch with us.

Don’t keep your questions to yourself. Contact SSDA USA right away!

This is attorney advertising. SSDA, LLC is a group of attorneys that pursues claims for Social Security Disability benefits on behalf of its clients against the Social Security Administration. SSDA, LLC is in no way a part of the Social Security Administration. Further, the information on this blog is for general information purposes only. Nothing herein should be taken as legal advice. This information is not intended to create, and receipt or viewing does not constitute, a representative-client relationship.

Why every child needs to play infographic

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