The Importance of Play

This post was written and sponsored by Rainbow Child Care Center. Raleigh Moms Blog only partners with sponsors who we feel bring the most value to our readers.

The Importance of PlayPlay is the cornerstone of development in children as they learn about themselves and the world around them. According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, play is so important to optimal child development that it has been recognized by the United Nations High Commission for Human Rights as a right to every child.

Play offers ideal opportunities for children to develop as a whole child by strengthening their cognitive, physical, social and emotional skills. Play also allows children to use their creativity while developing their imagination and a love for learning and exploring.

The Four Stages of Meaningful Play: 

Solitary Play

Solitary Play occurs when a child is around other children but is playing alone, not paying attention to others. At this stage, infant and young toddlers learn about the world around them through their senses and explore toys, objects and people by looking, touching, grasping and tasting. They also begin to participate in and control interactions with caregivers, and enjoy games such as peek-a-boo.

Parallel Play

As young children become more aware of others in their world, they begin to engage in Parallel Play. Toddlers explore their environment with newly discovered physical skills and enjoy playing independently with toys. They begin to see themselves as part of a social group, but are still egocentric, or self-centered in their thinking.

Associative Play

As children develop more interest in their peers and more skills to interact with others, they enter the Associative Play stage. At this stage, children may play the same game with one another, but are not necessarily working together in an organized manner to create something.

Cooperative Play

Cooperative play, starts emerging in four and five-year-olds. As their social and emotional development matures, children play cooperatively with others. Their play has an organized structure and children will communicate with each other as they work together towards a common goal. In this play stage, children learn respect for others property, realize they may need permission to use others toys, and are more willing to share their toys.

The Importance of PlayPlay is an important tool for a child’s development. Read below an inspirational poem from early childhood educators on the essentials of meaningful play.

The Value of Play
You say that you love your children,
And are concerned that they learn today,
As am I, that’s why I’m providing
A variety of kinds of play.

You are asking what’s the value
Of having your children play?
Your daughter’s creating a tower,
She may be a builder someday.

You’re asking me the value
of blocks and sand and clay.
Your children are solving problems,
They will use that skill every day.

You’re saying that you don’t want your son
To play in that sissy way.
He’s learning to cuddle a doll,
He may be a father someday.

You’re questioning the learning centers,
They just look like useless play.
Your children are making choices,
They’ll be on their own someday.

You’re worried your children aren’t learning
And later they’ll have to pay.
They’re learning a pattern for learning,
For they’ll be learners always.



What is your child’s favorite play activity? Please share in the comments below. We always enjoy hearing from our readers! 

Rainbow Child Care Center, one of the nation’s leading providers of high-quality early education, is dedicated to providing a safe “Home Away From Home” environment that fosters the developmental growth of every child. Known for its commitment to whole-child learning, Rainbow offers a challenging curriculum supporting intellectual growth while promoting a culture that fosters friendships, develops healthy beginnings and encourages a love of lifelong learning. With over 15 centers in the Greater Raleigh Area find the one nearest you by visiting or calling (833) 90-LEARN!

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