Why Is Play Time Important?
Physical (gross-motor) skills develop as a child at play learns to reach, crawl, walk, run, climb, jump, throw, catch and balance. Fine-motor skills (the use of hands and fingers) advance as he or she handles playthings.
Mental skills are sharpened through play that encourages problem solving and demonstrates cause and effect. Children learn about shapes, colors, sizes and other concepts through play. Language blossoms as a child interacts with others and uses words for favorite playthings and activities.
Learning to follow directions, cooperate, take turns, abide by the rules and share are important social skills mastered through play.
Play also builds emotional skills, as children experience pleasure, bond with others, and work through feelings during role-play. Self-esteem, so crucial to one's long-term happiness and success, also is enhanced when children achieve goals through play.
Play stimulates creativity and imagination, as well, and allows children to expand the horizons of their world. When a child pretends to be a doctor, a teacher, a parent, or a firefighter, he or she learns that life is full of possibilities and opportunities.
Perhaps most important of all, play is fun. Years later, when we recall our childhood, it is the happy times spent playing with special people that we remember most fondly.