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How Play Helps Build Brains

Did you know play helps support children's social, language, gross motor, fine motor, problem-solving, and cognitive development?

Play is a great way for parents and caregivers to support the development of responsive relationships, strengthen core life skills, and reduce sources of stress. When parents have positive interactions with their children during play, they not only strengthen their relationship and attachment with their children but are also encouraging them to seek out and build relationships with others later in life.


Imaginative play such as playing dress up with your child lets them take the lead, helping them learn new things and their boundaries. It has been shown that "children who engage in make-believe play tend to be more advanced in language, memory, and reasoning. They also tend to have a more sophisticated understanding of other people's thoughts, beliefs and feelings" (Kail & Barnfield, 2015, p.519). Imaginative play is also a great way for children to experiment and learn core life skills in a safe environment!


While imaginative play scenarios can create fun and unique experiences for children to play freely children can also build their brains with activities like colouring, cutting paper, playing with playdough, and stringing beads to help develop their fine motor skills while activities like running, jumping, and dancing help develop their gross motor skills. Risky play is another great way to help children discover the world around them, build resiliency, and learn their boundaries; children learning their boundaries is important so they understand what their limits are and when they need to ask for help. Children can learn how to do things such as chop vegetables, fold laundry, take turns, and resolve conflicts with peers all through the complex interactions that occur while engaging in play.


By playing and challenging your child with new experiences, you are helping them develop their cognitive and problem-solving abilities along with other areas of their development by engaging in different activities!


Some information in this blog post has been pulled from Kail, R. V., & Barnfield, A. M. M. C. (2015). Children and Their Development (3rd ed.). Pearson.


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