Power of play

Early childhood is the precious time when many future capacities for learning, communicating and problem solving take place within the process of play, imagination, and the sensory interactions a child has with his/her environment.

Play develops the brain architecture necessary to create efficient pathways used for later academic learning. For example, when a child walks on a balance beam (pretending it’s the Billy Goats Gruff bridge), she is developing the vestibular system in the inner ear that will, in turn, help her follow a line of print in a book someday when reading!

To encourage later academic learning, we must encourage children to truly play.

When children have the chance for self-directed play, they:

  • Utilize creative ideas and imagination
  • Master physical skills
  • Cooperate and negotiate with others
  • Solve problems on their own
  • Talk and learn with friends
  • Learn to make decisions

When children have a chance to play outdoors they:

  • Appreciate beauty
  • Burn more calories
  • Master physical skills
  • Explore with their senses
  • Play new ways with friends
  • Observe and investigate nature

Articles on the Power of Play

Old Fashioned Play Builds Serious Skills (NPR)