“Children are natural scientists — they come into the world ready to experiment and learn through play. And they use what they discover to not only adapt the structure of their brains but also strengthen the skills they need to continue being engaged, flexible learners for their whole lives.” — The LEGO Foundation.
Children need to play; not only is playtime crucial for every aspect of child development, it is fun and makes for happy, healthy kids! Lifelong success starts with a dynamic, engaged brain. An abundance of research highlights the importance of play for a child’s brain development, starting right from birth.
Why Play is a Basic Human Right of all Children
In fact, the United Nations has declared play a basic human right for all children due to how vital it is for healthy development. Not only does it contribute to cognitive growth and learning, it can also protect children from factors that may be detrimental to development such as stress.
Chronic stress has been found to be toxic and harmful for growing brains – play, especially self-guided outdoor play, is supported by science as a natural stress reliever and a proactive way to work through distressing emotions. In fact, the American Academy of Pediatrics released a 2018 clinical report that advised doctors to write “play prescriptions” for children to help deal with stress, encourage social development, and stimulate cognitive growth.
The Cognitive Benefits of Play
Another study found that very young children who engaged in frequent playtime with blocks showed stronger language abilities after six months. Block play has also been shown to build cognitive flexibility, or the ability to quickly and easily shift focus from one stimulus to another.
This infographic provides many more quotes, examples, and research on the incredible importance of play for brain development and beyond.
In today’s fast-paced, over-scheduled world, it is vital that we give children opportunities to do what they naturally do best – play!