The Importance of Play in Child Development

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Across all countries, cultures, languages and borders, all children do several things in common. For example, all children (and adults) eat, sleep and communicate. These are some of the more obvious activities that are necessary for a child’s health and development. But one activity which may be less obvious is playing. Play is another activity that all children have in common with each other. All children play.

But why is this? What is the importance of playing?

For something that comes so naturally to children, and which occurs in all cultures, there must be a very important reason for it.

It turns out that there is.

Play is the work of a child, and the mode through which a great deal of learning takes place. Through the eyes of an adult, this may not always be clear. Play may be seen as frivolous and purely for fun by some adults. But if you stop, and look closely, you’ll begin to see the enormous lessons, skills and values that your child is engaged in learning naturally through his/her play.

Play has been shown to have a huge role in overall child development and contributes to the cognitive, physical, social and emotional well-being of children. In fact, play is so important to optimal child development that it has been recognized by the United Nations High Commission for Human Rights as a right of every child (Ginsburg, 2007).

That is huge. But how is play linked to a child’s overall development? Just how is your child learning so much through play?

Keep a look out for upcoming blog posts with the answers to these questions! New posts will answer these questions with emphasis on four areas of child development: cognitive, physical, social and emotional.



This is a series of guest posts by Raquel Marshall, a registered Clinical Psychologist in Barbados providing counselling and psychoeducational assessment services for children and adults. You can visit Raquel’s professional Facebook page here.

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Island Sitters

Island Sitters is a fully comprehensive online agency service, pairing families with qualified and trustworthy babysitters, house sitters, pet sitters, nannies and tutors.

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