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How does play influence the development of your child?

Team StoryWeavers|June 21, 2022, 17:25 IST|

developmental benefits of play

“It is a happy talent to know how to play.”

— Ralph Waldo Emerson, American Essayist

We all are aware that playing is an important part of childhood and that children learn through play. Previously, we have spoken about the benefits of play and what parents need to remember while playing with their children to get them to play more. 

Parents know that play is how children make sense of the world around them. It actively engages children and is universal in its nature. Today, in this article, we will explore developmental benefits of play. 

The role of play in child’s development 

Dr Louise Porter’s book, Young Children’s Behaviour: Guidance Approaches for Early Childhood Educators, lists developmental benefits of play. Dr Louise is a child psychologist with over thirty years of both private practice and teaching experience. 

Here is how play influences children’s development by giving context to learning. 

Intellectual skills

  • Play allows children to enact social roles and manipulate objects. It helps children to refine their understanding of the world (social and physical) around them. 
  • It requires children to use their creativity and also hones their imagination. 
  • It encourages children to practice self-regulation, which includes regulating their emotions, impulses, attention and behaviour. 
  • It also helps children develop functional literacy and mathematical skills through games and other activities. 

Verbal skills

  • Play encourages children to acquire new words or vocabulary from their peers through interaction. 
  • It also teaches children how to use language to negotiate with others to solve their problems. 

Social skills

  • Play helps children take others’ perspective into account through their interactions with their peers. 
  • It also allows children to practice team skills such as taking turns, cooperating and compromising, as they cannot be taught and only be practised through play. 

Behavioural skills

  • Play helps children to learn to abide by rules of the activity by regulating their behaviour, that is, thoughts and actions. 
  • It encourages children to differentiate between right and wrong. It also teaches children to be considerate towards others. 

Physical skills

  • Play helps children to hone their gross and fine motor skills. Motor development in children contributes to overall development.
  • It allows children to get a more in-depth understanding of their body and the surrounding space. 
  • It fosters the children’s confidence about the physical capacity of their bodies. 

Play plays a gigantic role in any child’s development. Parents can use this understanding to encourage the child to play more. You can also create a playroom for your child that allows them to engage in free-play. Parents should also note that the child may not want to play all the time, and that is okay too. 

Did you like reading about these developmental benefits of play? Did you know them beforehand? Do share your thoughts in the comments section below or drop a note at


Porter, L. (2020). Young Children’s Behaviour: Guidance Approaches for Early Childhood Educators. United Kingdom: Taylor & Francis. 

Also read, 

About the Author

“Me-kha-la!” That happens at least once when she introduces herself to new people. She wholeheartedly believes in the quote by Arthur Rubinstein that says – “if you love life, life will love you back”. She is an organizational psychologist and psychometrician. She was a class teacher of 36 adorable girls for two years, grades 2 & 3, as a part of the Teach For India Fellowship. These little girls have a special place in her heart, and when she writes for children, she writes for them!

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