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What is Play
Benefits of Play: Emotional
Engaging in play helps children to gain self-confidence and increase self-esteem. Play is also thought to reduce or eliminate symptoms of stress and depression, and is an effective way to help children, in the words of children’s songwriter Raffi, ”shake their sillies out,” so they can focus on other necessary tasks. When children have fun and enjoyment in their playtime, they will ‘feel good’ about themselves and about what they’re doing. There are many ways through which play can produce these benefits that will stay with them throughout their lives.
Self Concept / Self EsteemA child’s self-confidence and self-esteem are enhanced through play when they are able to achieve the goals that they set. This achievement through play will enable the child to appraise his or her own strengths and abilities, and as a result the child will develop self-confidence, and a sense of accomplishment. The experience of success is provided through play leading children to accept future challenges.
Express FeelingsPlay allows for a healthier, more socially acceptable way of expressing one’s feelings and opinions. Children are able to express their emotions through play, which will in turn reduce aggression. Expressing feelings through play will allow a child to work through his or her problems, rather than internalizing them. In doing this, the child will be forming a basis for healthy emotional, mental, social, and physical well-being by learning how to manage his or her emotions in a socially acceptable way.
Experience Happiness and JoyPlay provides great pleasure, joy, and freedom. Through play, children will learn to embrace humor and laughter. These are crucial components for building effective coping skills and relaxation techniques. In addition, they will help to reduce stress through the experience of fun.
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This online resource has been created through a collaborative project of the National Center on Health, Physical Activity and Disability (NCHPAD) with content and design development by the National Center on Accessibility (NCA) and the Indiana University School of Health, Physical Education and Recreation. This project is funded through Grant/Cooperative Agreement Number U59/CCU522742-02 from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The contents are solely the responsibility of the authors and do not necessarily represent the official views of CDC.
All rights reserved. No part of this guide may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording, or by any information storage and retrieval system, without permission in writing from the publisher.
Copyright 2013, Board of Trustees of the University of Alabama at Birmingham.