About Play

Everyone needs play. It is essential to learning, creativity, and discovery. It guides physical, intellectual, and social development. It drives innovation, increases productivity, and contributes to healthier lives. Children playing on playgrounds learn to incorporate found objects and put them to novel uses, develop creative pretend and dramatic play scenarios, and build on the ideas of others. Inventors draw on these same skills to make imaginative and unlikely connections that lead to exciting new products or important medical and technical advances. Collectors play at acquiring their favorite things and, in doing so, help document important cultural trends.

Play is critical to human development

Research proves that play:

  • builds ability to solve problems, negotiate rules, and resolve conflicts;
  • develops confident, flexible minds that are open to new possibilities;
  • develops creativity, resilience, independence, and leadership;
  • strengthens relationships and empathy; and
  • helps grow strong healthy bodies and reduces stress.

Children who play do better in school and become more successful adults

 Through play children learn to:

  • question, predict, hypothesize, evaluate, and analyze;
  • form and substantiate opinions; and
  • persist through adversity.

Studying play increases knowledge of history
and culture

Studying play:

  • reveals individual, group, and national identity, opinions, and preferences;
  • illuminates the role of children and childhood in society; and
  • documents technological advancements.