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Why They Should Play

Play is such an important part of a child’s life. Why? Because through peekaboo, tea parties, and playing house, children learn to be creative and interact socially. Play helps children to develop cognitively, physical, socially, and emotionally.

Benefits of Play

Play helps children develop cognitive skills. They learn to solve problems, use reason, and come up with creative ideas. Play can also strengthen their memory skills and increase their attention span. Through play, children start to explore and make sense of the world.

Here are everyday play ideas to support your child’s cognitive skills.

  • Puzzles/memory games
  • Sorting different objects
  • Nature walks
  • Cooking – have them help with measuring, counting, and naming different ingredients

Play helps children develop physical skills by encouraging movement, which helps children develop their gross and fine motor skills and support their balance. They also begin to understand how people and objects move.

Here are everyday play ideas to support your child’s physical skills.

  • Obstacle courses
  • Build with blocks or construction toys
  • Playdough
  • Visit the park

Play helps children develop social skills. As they interact with others, children begin to understand rules and social expectations. Play also provides children the opportunity to share thoughts and ideas and to practice listening.

Here are everyday play ideas to support your child’s social skills.

  • Simon says
  • Scavenger hunt
  • Pretend play
  • Team sports

Play helps children develop emotional skills and begin to understand and process different emotions. It relieves stress and anxiety, as playing is fun and a joyful experience. Playing also helps children develop confidence.

Here are some everyday play ideas to support your child’s emotional skills.

  • Dress up/act out stories
  • Paint/draw/color
  • Read books
  • Listen/dance to music

Simply put, play is pivotal to your child’s development. We encourage you to run, sing, and dance with your children, but most importantly, have fun! For more ideas on how to add play to your child’s routine, check out our Play & Learning Experiences resource.

Early childhood developmental screenings are the best way to gauge your child’s development, to learn about their skills and behaviors, and to get tips, support, and more ideas for pairing playing with learning. Find your free screening center here!

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Wyoming Department of Health
(307) 777-6972
(307) 777-7515

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Screen for Success is for every child and every family in Wyoming, without exception, and without discrimination.