Learning Through Play

Play is an important part of childhood. As Lawrence Frank once said, “through play, children learn what none can teach.” While playing, children are able to practice skills and roles needed for survival, learning and development. These skills include problem solving, sharing, taking turns, pretend play, etc. According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, play is one of the most important experiences of childhood and through it, children can develop physically, emotionally, socially and mentally.

Through play, a variety of developmental skills are addressed.  Playing with toys provides a foundation for learning.  Skills such as colors, shapes, numbers, letters, names of objects and people, etc. are all addressed during play activities. These skills are foundational skills which will help your child as they transition from early childhood programs to the elementary school setting.  Some children with developmental delays may have difficulty playing purposefully with their toys. During developmental therapy sessions, toys may be adapted to help children play.

Playing with others also encourages social skills.  Social skills are important in order to interact with and learn from others and the environment. Many children with developmental delays have difficulty with social interactions. This may result in limited eye contact, difficulty maintaining two-way conversations, difficulty playing with others, etc. Play opportunities address social interactions with others – including the child’s parents, siblings, teachers and peers.

Remember, you are your child’s best toy.  Taking time to play and talk with your child is the most beneficial thing you can do.

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