When your child plays, they learn about their world, themselves and others. Play is about letting your child take the lead to create, build, and explore. Play builds healthy bodies and minds and is important for your child’s mental health and well-being. Play also gives your child the ability to:
Play also helps brain cells connect and supports learning and understanding.
Types of play include:
Active play involves active, whole body movements. Examples include running, jumping, kicking, throwing, and catching. These
movements form the basis for more complex movements.
Pretend play helps your child learn about the world and develop their imagination. Your child’s imagination has no limits. A piece of cardboard can be a flying carpet and a broom can be a galloping pony.
Creative play allows your child to use their hands and minds to build and create. This type of play includes arts and crafts, which lets them express themselves. It also helps to develop fine motor skills. Playing with blocks and puzzles develops eye-hand coordination and problem-solving skills.
Letting your child decide for themselves what they want to do and how to do it gives them time to:
All children learn through play. Play helps them balance daily routines with free time where they get to take the lead and make the choices. When it comes to play, keep the focus on fun. Learning follows naturally when play is fun.
Play with your child every day. Your child wants to spend time with you— they look up to you and want to learn from you. Playing together also makes the bond between you and your child stronger. This supports their healthy growth and development. Play is fun for adults too.
Here are some tips to encourage play:
Current as of: August 31, 2020
Author: Healthy Children and Families, Alberta Health Services
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