Benefits of Play for Children

Play is the work of childhood! Learn how play develops intelligence, resilience, self-awareness, and more in this post.

Play is the work of childhood. One of the greatest gifts my parents gave me as a child was the gift of play. They saw play as an important piece of childhood that should be respected. They took our play seriously, and made sure we had time to play. When I look at the ways I use my time and the talents I have chosen to develop, many of them were developed through free play.

Benefits of Play for Children

Through play, children acquire and apply knowledge and skills – the definition of intelligence! Play provides a safe atmosphere for children to make and recover from mistakes, building resilience. Through play, children discover who they are, what they care about, what they love, and what they fear. Play is a space for children to learn self-awareness.

Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi discovered that "flow" - a state of heightened focus and immersion in activities such as art, play, and work, is the key to happiness. Learn about more benefits of play for children in this post.

Positive Psychologist Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi discovered that “flow” – a state of heightened focus and immersion in activities such as art, play, and work, is the key to happiness. Through free play, children discover this “flow” for the first time. The ability to enter “flow” state is a critical component of creative activities – from art and music to scientific discoveries and innovation.

There are so many benefits fo play for children! Play builds intelligence, resilience, self-awareness, and more!

Through play, children learn to communicate, negotiate, and cooperate. Children use play to process their daily experiences, and through that processing they develop social and emotional intelligence. The childhood work of play allows children to use intrinsic motivation to complete tasks that build the skills that will carry them through life.

Because play is important, we limit outside activities and keep screens off. Because play is important, I take my kids outside. Because play is important, I make to time to sit with them and watch and listen to their play. Watching my children play is an amazing part of being a parent, and it helps me get to know each of children as individuals.

How do you prioritize play in your home?

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Janine of Encourage Play inspired me to write this post as part of her Play Matters blog hop for September. Click on the image above to learn more about this series!

MaryAnne lives in Silicon Valley with her Stanford professor husband Mike and their four children. She writes about parenting through education, creativity, and play. Mama Smiles - Joyful Parenting is a space to share crafts, hands on learning activities, and family outings that enrich lives and bring families together.

9 thoughts on “Benefits of Play for Children”

  1. It’s wonderful that your parents made play an important and valued part of your life, and you are now continuing on that tradition with your own children. Play needs to be a priority in a family’s life. Thank you so much for sharing and being part of the Play Matters Blog hop!!

  2. Your children are lucky that you put such a high priority on letting them play. One of my favorite things to do is to sit and just watch my daughter play!

  3. I so agree with you that kids get to experience a sense of flow while playing. We try to limit our weekend activities to leave a block of several hours for play. However, daughter usually prefers to spend that time lost in a book :)

  4. Elisa | blissful E

    I believe the creative problem-solvers of the future will be those privileged children whose parents are making time for them to play today. While I am sometimes tempted as a homeschool mum to stuff more academics in my kids’ days, I choose to prioritise free play time (mostly outdoors) for them instead.

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