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Why play is important

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Growing and learning can be fun. In fact, playing helps children learn about themselves and the world around them, while developing essential physical, social, language and communication skills.

Playing alone or with others builds confidence and helps children understand where they fit in. Getting creative with playtime, both indoors and out, can also bring you and your child closer together, making them feel loved, happy and safe.

Unstructured free play

This is the best type of play for young children. It isn’t planned, it just happens. From fiddling with fingers and toes at an early age to inventing imaginary worlds as they get older, unstructured play allows children to use their imagination and move at their own pace.

You can help initiate unstructured play by:

Structured play

Often led by a grown-up, structured play happens at a fixed time, in a set place and usually follows a set of rules.

This could be:

  • music and art classes
  • swimming or dance lessons
  • organised sport
  • family board games
  • storytelling.

Creative play

Creative play encouraged children to use their imagination and develop motor skills. It also lets them engage in problem solving, with no set right or wrong answers.

You and your child can try:

  • experimenting with sound by singing or making music
  • playing with colours while painting
  • using expressions or actions to show feelings or tell a story.

children playing in the playground

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Last updated 30 October 2020