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The Value Of Play

Play is important for all of us young and old! Play helps us learn, relax, connect to each other and feel joy. Children and adults alike should make time for play often. Play is not just a luxury but an important part of being a healthy person.

Play is a great pathway to learning. Gottfried Benn, a German novelist and poet, said “Whoever wants to understand much must play much.” Also O. Fred Donaldson PhD, internationally know for his research on play, states “Children learn as they play. Most importantly, in play children learn how to learn. “

Play stimulates our creativity, and curiosity. A child wants to figure out what they can do with a toy, or are curious about how an ant makes a tunnel. Play helps us learn to problem-solve and adapt. Whether it is figuring out how to fit pieces of a puzzle together or building a tower from wooden blocks so it won’t fall down. Children are always learning to “figure it out” during play. They learn about the world around them as they role play and pretend. Play challenges us to try new things, learn new ways to do things and persevere until we get it right.

Play is important for us physically. Running and climbing, playing ball or riding a bike all help develop gross motor skills. Playing with small toys , stacking building blocks or coloring all help the fine motor skills. Physical play also sends out endorphins in our bodies that make us feel good, happy, and relaxed. So encourage your children to get outside and run and play.

Socially and emotionally play helps us connect to others. Think of the best friend you had as a child. Your memories are probably of times you spent in play together. Play lessens stress and fatigue. It gives us opportunity to learn roles and take turns, play by the rules and learn to resolve conflicts. Play helps us learn how to communicate with others both verbally and non-verbally.

Play is the great “work” of children. Promote it, encourage and foster it.Don’t over schedule your children. Make sure they have free time away from TV and technology so they can creatively play.

Also take time to rejuvenate yourself through play. Play can help you be more creative and see a problem in a new way. Play refreshes us and gives us energy and prevents burn out. Playing with your children helps you connect and provides opportunities where we can really talk. It helps you see what is really important to them. So go out shoot some hoops, play in a sandbox, play with dolls, or fly a kite. Laugh and smile and and just have fun!