Why Play is Important

Elizabeth Jones, early childhood expert from Pacific Oaks and long-time Exchange writer, presented ideas on the value of play in Work and Family Life (February 2008; www.workandfamilylife.com). According to Jones, play teaches kids to…

  • Use their imagination, improvise, think flexibly, and explore new options.
  • Make appropriate choices from among many possibilities.
  • Solve problems, both with materials with people.
  • Cooperate with other children in the creation of mutually satisfying projects.
  • Work through their feelings in creative, non-destructive ways.
  • Become more aware of their own real interests, without being distracted with other possibilities — to say “yes” and to say “no.”
  • Use something, such as a dramatic action, a word, a toy, a set of blocks, or a collection of marks on paper, to represent something else — this sort of representation being essential to the process of learning to read.
  • See themselves as competent and interesting people, with useful skills and good ideas.

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