100 Benefits of Play in Early Childhood

Young ones can’t resist engaging in fun activities, whether it’s assembling a jigsaw puzzle, riding a bike or merely having a good time in the playground. There is almost no kid that doesn’t love to play, regardless of their age.

And make no mistake, play is important for little ones to grow and develop properly. From helping them in managing emotions, to strengthening their muscles, to improving their creativity, there are many benefits of play for child development. It has a positive impact on kids on several levels including physically, mentally, emotionally and socially.

Following are 100 benefits of play, which will be helpful for parents and grandparents to know:

Physical Benefits

  1. Physical Strength – Playing that involves physical movement makes children stronger by promoting the growth of their bones and muscles
  2. Gross Motor Skills – Children develop gross motor skills through running and jumping
  3. Body Balance – Walking on balance beam in the playground helps develop the kids’ body balance
  4. Fine Motor Skills – Fine motor skills are developed as kids color drawings or build using small toy blocks
  5. Hand-Eye Coordination – Little ones develop their hand-eye coordination during play including when they assemble knob puzzles
  6. Physical Exercise – Playing outdoors allows you to keep kids physically active and moving
  7. Better Sleep – Outdoor play allows kids to sleep better at night thanks to consuming more energy and releasing the soothing endorphins
  8. Obesity Prevention – Obesity can be prevented in early childhood by maintaining physical activity
  9. Body Flexibility – Kids develop a more physical flexibility as they adjust their body during play especially inside indoor playgrounds
  10. Exposure to Sunlight – Being active outside expose children to direct sunlight which gives them energy and vitamin d
  11. Blood Circulation – Moving around during play promotes better blood circulation in the body
  12. Energy Boost – Children become more energetic while engaging in fun activities
  13. Speaking Skills – Playing allows kids to interact with each other which develops their speaking skills
  14. Endurance – Children develop higher physical endurance as they run and exert themselves while having fun
  15. Sporting Skills – Playing soccer and other ball games improves sporting skills of kids
  16. Agility – Kid’s agility improves thanks to the running and moving fast during play
  17. Spatial Awareness – Kids develop spatial awareness as they interact with other objects including when driving a toy car
  18. More Activity – Playing encourages little ones to be active and interact more with the world
  19. Less Screen Time – Playing outdoors helps to minimize screen time for kids
  20. Favorable View of Exercise – Physical play helps to make exercising more entertaining for little ones
child playing in playground

Mental Benefits

  1. Vocabulary – Kids can learn new vocabulary while speaking with others during play
  2. Creativity – Free play fosters creativity and imagination in little ones
  3. Math Skills – Playing with manipulatives (such as pattern blocks) teach children the math skills like counting and shapes
  4. Memory – The memorizing ability of kids develop when they play with puzzles and memory games
  5. Focus – Children improves their focus ability while engaging in fun activities
  6. Knowledge – Kids learns new things and expand their knowledge as they play
  7. Self Awareness – Play helps to develop mindfulness in little ones and make them more aware of their thoughts
  8. Positivity – Consistently engaging in fun activities allows kids to see the beautiful side of things and be more positive
  9. Problem Solving Skills – Children develop their problem solving skills while playing with puzzles including jigsaw puzzles and Sudoku
  10. Less Laziness – Being active in play each day means that children will be less likely to become lazy
  11. Patience – Playing lengthy games teach children to be patient and not rush things
  12. Humor – The sense of humor can be developed in kids through engaging them in fun play
  13. Intelligence – Kids becomes more intelligent while playing mind-engaging games and puzzles
  14. New Skills – Children can learn new skills during play such as painting and playing music
  15. Life Lessons – Play can teach kids some important life lessons such as respecting the personal space of people
  16. Self Expression – Children are able to more spontaneous and fully express themselves while playing freely
  17. Brain Growth – Play engages the child’s brain and makes it more efficient
  18. School Performance – The academic performance of children may improve during play due to engaging their minds
  19. Lower Boredom – Children are less likely to become bored when they do fun activities from time to another
  20. Sense of Danger – Play allows children to develop the sense of danger whether it’s about cars or strangers
  21. Learning from Mistakes – Playing encourages trial and errors so kids learn from mistakes and not repeat them
  22. Critical Thinking – Kids develop critical thinking and why things happen while playing
  23. Tidiness – Play promote better organization in children including when assembling puzzles and putting toys away
  24. Personal Hygiene – Children learn to clean themselves after they get dirty from playing including to take a shower
  25. Curiosity – Play motivates kids to be more curious and explore things which results in more learning
  26. Love of Nature – Love of nature and living creatures is cultivated in kids while playing outdoors
  27. Story Telling – Play teaches kids story telling as they typically want to tell what fun stuff they did and how their day was
  28. Development of Skills – Play brings out the sense of ‘wanting to be better than others’ in children which develops their skills
  29. Exploration – Kids tend to explore while playing and thus learn how to do research on a topic they want to know about
  30. Achieving Goals – Children learn how to achieve goals when there is an objective of the play such as completing a puzzle
  31. Decision Making – Play teaches children better decision-making as they figure out things and make their own choices
  32. Hard Work – Challenging games help to make hard work less tedious to young ones
  33. Planning – The children’s ability to make plans is boosted especially when there are more than one game to do
  34. Passion Discovery – Play allows kids to discover their passion and what they interests them more
  35. Better Career – Children can better know what career to pursue in the future when they figure out what they love doing
  36. Performance Under Pressure – Kids learn to perform more productively under pressure when they play a game with time limit
  37. Identifying Errors – Play teaches children the ability to spot errors (or if something is missing) while solving a puzzle
  38. Good Judgement – Children learn as they play to better judge what’s right and wrong with regards to interacting with the world
kid assembling jigsaw puzzle

Emotional Benefits

  1. Happiness – Play promotes children’s happiness by letting them do entertaining activities
  2. Confidence – Kids develop more self confidence as they play and complete a game by themselves
  3. Conquering Fears – Fears can be addressed and overcome during play such as fear of height and tight space
  4. Gratitude – Children develop the sense of gratitude while playing and having fun
  5. Risk Taking – Play allows kids to take risks in a safe environment so that they become less afraid of failure
  6. Lower Stress – Fun activities help to reduce stress and anxiety in little ones
  7. Letting Go – Competitive games teach children to accept defeat and move one without getting demoralized
  8. Persistence – When kids play challenging games, they learn to be persistent until succeeding
  9. Self Respect – Playing with others teach kids self respect and to not allow others to insult or hurt them in any way
  10. Releasing Bad Emotions – Play is a great medium where children can chill out and get rid of their negative feelings
  11. Independence – Independence is developed in kids as they try to figure out things on their own while playing and solving puzzles
  12. Braveness – Children cultivate the courage to try out scary stuff as they play like climbing trees and touching animals
  13. Good Character – Play creates a positive space that develops little ones to have a great character
  14. Minimized Aggression – Children’s aggression is reduced when they’re allowed to play and have a fun time
  15. Happy Memories – Kids can accumulate wonderful memories when they play and do enjoyable activities
  16. Emotion Regulation – Playing teaches children to control impulses and not get consumed by negative emotions like anger or jealousy
  17. Resilience – Failure while playing promotes resilience in kids so they can recover faster from future setbacks
  18. Self Esteem – Allowing kids to engage in fun activities makes them feel valuable and boosts their sense of self-worth
  19. Readiness for Life Challenges – Encountering challenges while playing makes kids more capable to face real life challenges
  20. Not Requiring Toys to be Entertained – Free play gives children the ability to have fun anytime without the need for toys
girl playing with water at the beach

Social Benefits

  1. Respecting Rules – Kids learn to follow the rules during group play including card games and verbal competitions
  2. Cooperation – Play teaches children how to cooperate with others to get things done
  3. Deeper Relationships – The relationships between children strengthen during play
  4. New Friendships – Playing with others allows kids to be more social and make new friends
  5. Empathy – Children learn to understand each other’s feelings while playing
  6. Social Engagement – As kids engage more with others while playing, they become more extrovert and less shy
  7. Sharing – Playing encourage children to share information or items as needed
  8. Trust – Trusting in others is cultivated in kids as they play and collaborate
  9. Friendliness – Fun activities make children more friendly and approachable
  10. Communication Skills – Playing teaches children verbal communication skills and how to interact with others
  11. Negotiation Skills – Kids learn how to negotiate and make a deal with people while playing
  12. Family Bonding – The bond between parents and their kids is strengthened by playing together
  13. Loving to Help – Playing teaches kids to assist others when they need help
  14. Understanding Various Roles – Pretend play allows kids to understand different roles in life and what they entail
  15. Respecting Personal Space – Playing with others teach children the importance of personal space
  16. Resolving Conflicts – Playing teaches kids how to sort out conflict with others without getting aggressive
  17. Positive Body Language – Kids develop good body language while playing and having fun with each other
  18. Generosity – Playing involves helping each other which teaches kids to be generous and get involved in the community
  19. Listening to Parents – Allowing kids to have fun makes them more likely to be obedient to their parents
  20. Comfort at Home – Indoor play creates a more fun and easy-going environment in the house where kids will be comfortable
  21. Quality Family Time – Parents are able to spend more quality time with their little ones while playing with each other
  22. Entertainment During Travel – Parents can easily entertain their kids while traveling by letting them play especially in theme parks


There you have it, those are many benefits of play for children.

Hopefully, this will convince you not to try to prevent (or limit) how much fun time your kids can have each day.

Lastly, I want to mention again that play is a great opportunity to regularly get involved with your kid and have some fun.

Following is a beautiful graphic that includes all the above benefits of play including colorful images.

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