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Journal Articles


Why Play?

Posted on June 8, 2020 at 9:15 AM

The Science Behind Play

Play is one of the key ways in which children learn and develop emotionally, socially, physically, and behaviorally by building self-worth and giving a child a sense of their own abilities. Because play is fun, children often become very absorbed in what they are doing, which helps them develop the ability to concentrate and work through those emotions that are often difficult to express to adults.

The different types of play such as pretend, constructive, and cooperative play builds your child's creativity and imagination, and allows children to relax, heal, by working through their painful experiences, develop social skills such as cooperation, develops motor skills, and teaches self-expression. For example, whether she’s rolling a ball back and forth with a sibling or putting on a costume and imagining she's a superhero—she's developing important social skills such as taking turns, cooperation, and getting along with others. Or whether your child is playing with the doll house on a weekly basis, your child is working through painful issues they are often too painful to express.

Providing such opportunities to engage in different types of play will help your child learn in numerous other ways. Parents are their children’s first and best playmates and therefore have a role in being actively involved in their children’s play. Children are more creative when their parents are involved in their play and the best play occurs when the adult plays alongside the child, reading their cues, and allowing them to take the lead in play, rather than just providing the toys or supervising. Becoming part of a child’s play may take practice but is beneficial for all parties involved!  For more information visit the Association of Play Therapy website:

Play Therapy, is a modality of child therapy which is a powerful tool for addressing cognitive, behavioral, and emotional challenges for young children three years old and older.  Young children birth to three often are seen with the parent and child utilizing an approach called dyadic therapy to also help them cope with their emotional and behavioral challenges.  In this approach, the Infant Mental Health Clinician utilizes a relationship based approach that integrates play as a means of modality.  For more information on finding a trained Infant Mental Health Clinician who specializes in the birth to five population in your area, you can contact The Florida Associaiton of Infant Mental Health at:

Categories: Parent-Child Relationships

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