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What is Play
Benefits of Play: Mental
As part of a successful play experience, children must be alert, engaged, and focused on the activity in order to be rewarded with the experience they hope for and expect. Lots of decisions and choices are made throughout the experience – "Which piece of the puzzle goes in THIS space?" "Do I pass the ball, or keep it?" "Do I press this command button to fire my lasers, or the other button to jump out of the way?" "What game do I want to play today at recess, and with whom?" "Is this skateboarding trick too difficult to try? What if I fail?" "Do I go biking today, or stay in to read?" and, on an even more basic level, "Am I interested in this activity, or would I rather do something else?"
Play stimulates minds, and allows the child to develop many functional skills as a result.
Through play, children can develop a love for learning.
Develop Problem Solving SkillsThrough the expression of preference over what activity to play or which toy to play with; children learn to develop decision-making skills. Play helps children recognize the need to prioritize as they are unable to play with every toy at the same time, which in turn teaches children to compromise and share. Making choices give children a sense of independence, as they discover that they can solve the problems they are faced with by themselves.
Reinforcement of Academic & Daily Living SkillsPlay experiences allow children to internalize the skills they learn at school. In play, children discriminate between colors, shape, and sizes. They may use a clock or play money in a particular activity making the things taught in school reality in everyday life. Play also, helps children to manage personal belongings, and cultivates a sense of responsibility.
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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.