36 Quotes on the Importance of Play for Kids

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Play is such a crucial activity for children in order for them to develop properly. It’s how they naturally engage with the world and grow their body and mind.

Parents shouldn’t try to impede or limit the amount of play their kids may have. Of course, that’s as long as they take care of their school study and the screen time is limited.

Here are some powerful quotes that emphasize the importance of playing for little ones:

For a small child there is no division between playing and learning; between the things he or she does ‘just for fun’ and things that are ‘educational.’ The child learns while living and any part of living that is enjoyable is also play.

Penelope Leach, psychologist

Play gives children a chance to practice what they are learning.

Fred Rogers, TV host and producer

Children have always learned and created places for themselves through play.

Donna R. Barnes, professor in education

Creative play is like a spring that bubbles up from deep within a child.

Joan Almon, director of the US Alliance for Childhood

If we want our kids to have happy, productive, moral lives, we must allow more time for play, not less.

Peter Gray, professor in psychology

A child who does not play is not a child, but the man who does not play has lost forever the child who lived in him.

Pablo Neruda, poet

In play a child always behaves beyond his average age, above his daily behavior. In play it is as though he were a head taller than himself.

Lev Vygotsky, psychologist

Never in my wildest dreams could I have imagined we would have to defend children’s right to play.

Nancy Carlsson-Paige, professor in early childhood education

When we deny children play, we are denying them the right to understand the world.

Erika & Nicholas Christakis, early childhood educator/sociologist and physician

Every child is an artist. The problem is how to remain an artist once he grows up.

Pablo Picasso, educator specialized in early childhood

It is in playing, and only in playing, that the individual child or adult is able to be creative and to use the whole personality, and it is only in being creative that the individual discovers the self.

D.W. Winnicott, pediatrician

Play is the royal road to childhood happiness and adult brilliance.

Joseph Chiltern Pearce, author specialized in human and child development

It is paradoxical that many educators and parents still differentiate between a time for learning and a time for play.

Leo F. Buscaglia, author and professor

The playing adult steps sideward into another reality; the playing child advances forward to new stages of mastery.

Erik H. Erikson, developmental psychologist

Children need the freedom and time to play. Play is not a luxury. Play is a necessity.

Kay Redfield Jamison, psychologist and writer

I shouldn’t have to defend play for children any more than I should have to defend their eating, sleeping, and breathing.

Rae Pica, speaker and consultant specialized in early childhood development

Play is the highest expression of human development in childhood, for it alone is the free expression of what is in a child’s soul.

Friedrich Froebel, educator who invented the kindergarten

We believe that toys are the tools of childhood and that the simple act of playing allows kids to develop a lifelong love of learning.

Mark Carson, president and co-founder of Fat Brain Toys

Play is so integral to childhood that a child who does not have the opportunities to play is cut off from a major portion of childhood.

Caroline Musselwhite, technology specialist who works with disabled children

Do not keep children to their studies by compulsion but by play.

Plato, philosopher

Children learn as they play. Most importantly, in play children learn how to learn.

O. Fred Donaldson, play specialist

The essence of childhood, of course, is play, which my friends and I did endlessly on streets that we reluctantly shared with traffic.

Bill Cosby, comedian and actor

There are children playing in the streets who could solve some of my top problems in physics, because they have modes of sensory perception that I lost long ago.

J. Robert Oppenheimer, professor in physics

The creation of something new is not accomplished by the intellect but by the play instinct.

Carl Jung, psychiatrist

Play is the foundation of learning, creativity, self-expression, and constructive problem-solving. It’s how children wrestle with life to make it meaningful.

Susan Linn, psychologist and writer

When children pretend, they’re using their imaginations to move beyond the bounds of reality. A stick can be a magic wand. A sock can be a puppet. A small child can be a superhero.

Fred Rogers, TV host and producer

Necessity may be the mother of invention, but play is certainly the father.

Roger von Oech, author and toy maker

The world of pretend play is one in which children can be free to express themselves, their ideas, their emotions, and their fantastic visions of themselves, of other people, and of the world.

Sandra Russ, professor in psychology

My childhood play took me to extremes, and all of them, I now understand, were a fun way to test the social realities into which one is born.

Jaak Panksepp, scientist and professor in psychology

Playing a game together actually builds up bonds and trust and cooperation. We actually build stronger social relationships as a result.

Jane McGonigal, game designer

It’s important that we don’t underestimate the play of children because it can produce a much more satisfyingly creative adult.

Dorothy and Jerome Singer, psychologists

Children learn through doingplay is how they explore their world, learn how to assess risk, try things out and get to know themselves.

Bethe Almeras, author and speaker who specializes in education

Think of playtime like an innovation lab where tomorrow’s civilization is being actively designed.

Jordan Shapiro, thought leader on education and parenting

Free play gives children an outlet to express their emotions and feelings and helps them develop a sense of who they are.

Joan Santer and Carol Griffith, authors of ‘Free Play in Early Childhood’

Play is often talked about as if it were a relief from serious learning. But for children play is serious learning.

Fred Rogers, TV host and producer

Play is the only way the highest intelligence of humankind can unfold.

Joseph Chilton Pearce, author specialized in human and child development


There are countless quotes about play available out there but the above were the ones we thought are more relevant to children.

As indicated by the quotes, adequate play is a crucial activity for little ones to learn and grow properly.

We’ve put together a beautiful graphic with the above quotes, enjoy!

Infographic Showing Quotes on the Importance of Play for Kids

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