The Importance of Play – Social Development In Children

Kids at Play

The Importance of Play – Social Development in Children


Children Play

After a long day at work, you come home and make dinner, bathe the kids and then have some time to spend with them before bed. Some parents will watch their children play while others will join in their activity.

Children learn from other children when they pretend play and it also helps to improve creative thinking. Some benefits of play are the fact that they can run around all day and get a goodnights rest, as well as be active enough to avoid childhood obesity.


Feeling Unafraid is an Important Feeling.

One way to help your child feel this?

Playing with others and interacting in social environments, without being scared or timid!

This helps them become more confident around all the different people they’re sure to meet during their childhood.

Play is important for social development in children; it is also crucial for parents to participate in their play.

According to Child Development Theories by Dr. William Sears, by focusing your complete attention on your child during play, your child will feel important.

If you are playing with your child but thinking about work, your child will sense that, and the interaction will lose value.


No Excuses

Many parents say, “ I have too many things to do,” take a moment and leave the chores; they will still be there tomorrow. The time with your child will be gone before you know it.

Playing with your child will allow you to get to know your child better; you will become familiar with their temperament; you will bond with your child and find out where they are developmental.


The Importance of Play In Child Development

Healthy child development activities with parents are quite important, enjoy spending time with them, and learn about your child’s development by interacting with them in free play.


Promoting healthy child development will also foster positive self-esteem

Positive self-esteem can set the foundation for good behavior. Positive play time has been known to improve social skills, creative thinking, and playful learning .

Young children learn the importance of play usually around other children. Most young children pretend play with dolls or cars or different toys by themselves and that is known as “single free play”.


Children’s Play at School Improves Social Skills

Preschool age children learn the benefits of play by engaging with others and pretend play.

Kindergarten children start to improve their social skills and start becoming friends and building bonds during free play with other children.

In a world where children are often isolated and left to play on their own, it is important that they have the opportunity for social interaction. Playing with others teaches them how others think about different ideas based upon what they know already.


Importance of Mingling

However, if they were able to play together it would give them both a chance for empathy which can lead into more understanding where each individual’s perspective comes from instead of just seeing their perspectives as one sided opinions that don’t matter much because “it doesn’t concern me.”

Free play makes us all better human beings even though we’re always learning our child development skills are still used through life!

Playing with other children helps improve social skills while also getting new insights into.


So, How do you Incorporate Play With your Child?

What do you do, what do you pay, and how do you stay entertained during play?

These are all common and valid questions that we will explore and answer.

The first and most important thing when interacting with your child is to follow their lead.

You want to engage in an activity they want to do; this way, their attention will be paramount and will continue as long as the child is interested.


Play is Mandatory for a Child’s Development

Play allows children to explore objects, create fantasy, and learn about cause and effect and their world. Additionally, play will teach children about roles, rules, sharing, interacting with others, and expressing themselves.

Child’s play is mandatory for children to grow up healthy and well-adjusted. It may seem like a silly thing, but pretend play actually helps your child develop good decision making skills that will help them in life as they get older.

The scenarios the school age children act out during their games give you an idea of what social situations might make them uncomfortable or fearful later on down the road.

When they’re forced into those same types of interactions with real people who don’t understand how different perspectives work – which means more time spent chatting about why something makes sense before someone can take action is a good way children learn.


Play Also Enhances Development in the Following Areas:

  • Encourages language Development
  • Fosters social development in children
  • Enhance self-esteem
  • Reduce physical aggression
  • Improves social skills
  • Enhance attention and problem-solving skills
  • Enhance negotiation skills
  • Enhance emotional development


How to Encourage Play:

  • Spend time observing your child play and learn about their style. Then you will be able to follow their lead during play
  • Provide a play space with children’s toys. This will allow the child to play and parents not to worry about getting into things they are not supposed to. This will allow the play to continue for more extended periods and enforce positive interactions.
  • Play with your child regularly with undivided attention. This will foster your bond as well as the child’s self-esteem.
  • Extend the play with the child by adding props, talking about what you are doing, and acting out what you are playing.
  • Encourage playfulness, be a kid when you play. This is when you need to find your kid-self again. You will realize after how much fun you had.
  • Provide different play experiences, play with other toys, objects, etc. This will allow the play to be different each time and enjoyable for both you and your child.


Here Are a Few Different Activities to do With Your Child:

  • Play with puppets
  • Read stories
  • Makeup stories and act them out
  • Paint/Draw
  • Dress up play
  • Sand/Water play
  • Music and movement (dancing)
  • Cars, trucks
  • Animals, dinosaur figures
  • Build with blocks, Lego


Think of playing with your child as investing time in raising the most important person in

the world. You will notice how relaxing play can be and that you can forget about your

stresses in life when fully engaged.


Want more on social development in children?

Want to read more on childhood temperament?



Q: What are the benefits of playing?

A: Children enjoy many great benefits from playing as it encourages cognitive, physical, social, and emotional development. Playing is not just fun; it helps children in many different ways.

  • Cognitive benefits: playing promotes critical thinking, problem-solving, it improves memory, it helps them understand cause and effect, and it’s a great way to learn about the world. It also encourages imagination and creativity.
  • Physical benefits: playing helps children develop their gross and fine motor skills.
  • Social benefits: playing teaches children to interact with one another, and it helps them understand a wide array of social situations and rules.
  • Emotional benefits: playing helps children understand their emotions, and it provides a medium through which they can process them.


Q: What are the benefits of learning through play?

A: Learning through play provides excellent benefits for children. Playing offers endless learning opportunities through which children develop skills that they will use for the rest of their lives.

They do this while having fun, and though it takes effort, they don’t perceive the activities as a burden, which makes them more open to whatever you decide to introduce through play.


Q: Why is play so important for kids?

A: Play is essential for kids because it encourages healthy development. All the benefits discussed above make play a powerful and crucial practice for children.

Playing supports their development in many different ways, and it doesn’t require hard work. Plus, it’s so much fun, and it’s a great way to practice self-expression.


Q: How does play encourages social development?

A: Play encourages social development not only because it allows children to interact with others but also because it encourages listening, compromising, taking someone else’s perspective, and learning about social cues.

Pretend play also helps young children express their feelings, share thoughts and ideas, and learn about social norms and good manners.


Q: What are the side effects of not playing?

A: Playing allows young children to grow strong and healthy because it aids development.

If you take to play out of the equation and deprive a child of this critical activity, it can lead to adverse effects that will affect them for life. According to science, children who don’t engage in proper play don’t have the opportunities to grow their imagination and build the skills they need.

Additionally, a lack of play can affect the child’s ability to relate to others and develop a sense of empathy. Without play, the child will also be unable to create an inner world, and they will struggle with their sense of self and the management of emotions.


Q: How to encourage play in children?

A: One of the best ways to encourage in children’s play is to focus the activities on their interests and give them ample opportunity to do things by themselves. It’s also important to switch things up every once and a while and introduce new games and challenging and fun activities.


Dr Dina Kulik - Kids Health

Amy Gibson BCD, RECE

Written By: Amy Gibson BCD, RECE

Amy, having earned a Bachelors Degree in Child Development, has been in the field of Early Childhood Education for the past 10 years. First working in an infant classroom, and then moving to JK, preschool and toddlers. Currently Amy works as a Supervisor of a childcare facility in York Region.

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