Contemporary author, Diane Ackerman, once said, “Play is our brain’s favorite way of learning” and we couldn’t agree more! Can there be learning without play? Indeed. However, recent studies suggest a lack of joy in learning can lead to boredom and overall dissatisfaction in education.
“When we scrub joy and comfort from the classroom, we distance our students from effective information processing and long-term memory storage.”
–Psychology Today, Neorolinguist Judy Willis
The Importance of Play
Play has many health benefits, including physical fitness, cognitive function, and mental health. The beauty of PLAY is that it comes naturally to us all! Yup! Babies, children, and adults are all inherently masters of play.
Play is such an essential part of our lives that doctors are even including play on their prescription pads for children.
5 Benefits of Play for Children’s Development
1. Play Promotes Creative Thinking
Play is essential for fostering a child’s imagination. Through play, children explore the world around them and develop unique problem-solving abilities beyond structured learning. According to an Economic Graph published on Linkedin, creativity tops the list of soft skills companies seek in employees.
“While robots are great at optimizing old ideas, organizations most need creative employees who can conceive the solutions of tomorrow.”
2. Play Fosters Social Development.
Play allows children the opportunity to practice listening, compromising, and feeling empathy for others, according to an article published on Harvard.edu.
One of our most popular educational games for early learners is Wake Up Stars. This adorable game helps young children identify and express emotions and practice storytelling.
3. Play Builds Strategy Skills.
Play can help children solve problems and actively look for solutions as they engage in critical thinking to overcome obstacles and adapt to challenging situations. Strategy board games are an excellent way to challenge young minds and help them develop early adaptability and problem-solving skills.
4. Play Can Help Children Learn Time Management Skills.
Some forms of play can even help children develop time management skills that will serve them into adulthood. Educational games with a timer, like Get Four and Score and ARTributes encourage quick thinking as players manage their time to score points before the timer runs out!
5. Play is Great for Cognitive Function.
According to Sergio Pellis, a researcher at the University of Lethbridge-
“The experience of play changes the connections of the neurons at the front end of your brain.”
When we play, we actively engage the prefrontal cortex of our brain, which is responsible for moderating social behavior, organizing ideas, and problem-solving. Furthermore, play helps us keep our brains sharp. It’s a case of “use it or lose it” when it comes to our brains. Engaging cognitive function is especially vital for brain development in children. Studies show it’s also critical for avoiding cognitive decline in adults.
Although we focus here on the benefits of play for children’s development, the benefits certainly do not plateau after primary school. Play is the foundation for intellectual curiosity for all ages! Studies show that teenagers also tend to do better on tests when they are engaged in what they are learning.
Ready to play? Game On! Break out the educational games, puppet theatre, or jigsaw puzzles, and let’s make education an immersive experience for a lifetime of learning through play!