Benefits of Play

The experience of playing helps children develop a wide variety of skills. Play is a valuable opportunity for children to practice focusing attention on a single task. Children’s attention span develops naturally as they get older. Play is a good opportunity for children to develop their attention spans because it is a child-directed activity. Children choose to play, what and how to play, how long to play, and when to switch activities. Because they have these choices, they tend to stay focused on play activities longer.

Children practice a wide variety of skills during play, including:

  • gross motor skills — big movements of the arms, legs, and trunk
  • fine motor skills — small movements of the hands, fingers, mouth, and tongue
  • eye-hand coordination
  • visual tracking — following objects with both eyes

Play also helps children develop cognitive and language skills, such as:

  • creative thinking
  • reasoning
  • problem-solving
  • planning and decision making
  • listening
  • communicating