The Importance of Play in Early Childhood Development

Here’s the article


Jona K. Anderson-McNamee is an MSU Extension Family and Consumer
Science Agent and Sandra J. Bailey is a Family and Human Development Specialist, also at MSU.


“Play is a child’s work. Play is important”

This quote is what begins the article and is a good overview of what is discussed in it.

Author  Jona K. Anderson-McNamee states that play should be a part of every infants life and it is the responsibility of the parents to incorporate play into their child’s lives and they should actually play with them. She goes on to say that play develops very important social and intellectual skills needed for every kid.  Play helps a child learn social and motor skills and cognitive thinking.

McNamee emphasizes the fact that parents need to set aside the time to spend with their children and integrate play time daily. This will ensure a closer bond between parent and child and also acts as a stress reliever for the adults. Additionally, play allows a way for children to feel appreciated and is a good self-esteem booster.

There is also a small part about technology and the downside it has on children, especially young children. For example, McNamee reiterates the problem that “children who spend most of their time using technology often are not physically active
or using their imagination.” She ends this section by offering advice to parents by saying that they can help their children by reducing screen time.

Following this, McNamee moves on to clearly point out the many types of play and outlines the basic facts of each. A few of the types she mentions are motor – physical, social, constructive and expressive.

The next category in this article is essentially summarizing the main benefits of play. McNamee lists the most important traits that come out of play in general and they are that children increase their problem-solving abilities;  gain an understanding of size, shape, and texture; it allows children to be creative while developing their own imaginations; and it can assist children in adjusting to a school setting. Once again, she goes into further detail for each of these and presents a short description of each.

Lastly, to conclude, McNamee ends by laying out her final thoughts about why play is important for children growing up.  She says that “play is how children
learn to socialize, to think, to solve problems, to mature and most importantly, to have fun. Play connects children with their imagination, their environment, their parents and
family and the world.”


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