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What Is Play?

Play is fun!

Photo of a boy doing a cartwheelChildren love to play, “anywhere there are children, there is play”, it has been said, because play is essential for the well being of children. A growing body of international research indicates that children who are deprived adequate play opportunities suffer from stunted development.

Play is also the medium through which children learn to understand the world around them. Children are little playing machines; instinctively from when they are tiny babies children will play. They will play with whatever is to hand, from a muddy puddle and a few stones, to a complex interactive video game.

Playing helps children develop physically. Outdoor play such as hide and seek, chasing, using a playground or climbing trees gives children the opportunity to exercise in a way that they enjoy. Children of all ages also develop their co-ordination skills through play.

Playing helps children develop socially as they learn to share, communicate and wait their turn.

Illustration of a boy with a lightbulb and double helix floating around his headPlaying helps children to develop intellectually. A simple game of pouring water from one cup to the other is a physics lesson through which a child learns to understand the properties of water and develops a sense of space relations.

Playing helps children to develop emotionally, to understand the joy of winning and the sorrow of losing, and many other emotions which arise as they play.

Play is that magical place which inspires wondrous feats of imagination and creativity among children.