How Children's Play Builds Skills for a Lifetime

mom and girl blowing dandelions

Allowing kids to spend time playing may be more important to their development than many people realize, according to a recent report from the American Academy of Pediatrics published in in the journal Pediatrics. The report looked at the most recent research regarding children, play and learning.

Play Helps Kids Develop Important Skills

According to the report, play helps kids develop a wide range of skills, including social development, language, early math skills, physical development, self-control, problem-solving skills and more. Some research also found a correlation between playing and lower levels of stress.

However, despite the benefits of play, children’s playtime has decreased. According to the report, academic pressure and safety concerns have reduced the overall time available for kids to play.

Find Ways to Play with Your Kids

“Playtime is also beneficial for parents,” says Matthew Kacir, MD, a pediatrician with UH Westshore Primary Care Pediatrics in Avon. “Not only can shared play help relieve parental stress, but it also helps parents create a deeper bond with their children.”

Dr. Kacir recommends a few ways to add some play to your child’s day.

  • Sit on the floor with your infant or toddler as they explore blocks, stacking rings, rattles or soft books. 
  • Encourage your preschooler to role-play with you. You can pretend you are at the store or at school, or play house.
  • Head outside for some playtime. Play together in a puddle after the rain, dig in the sand on the beach or build a fort.

Related links

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