The Art of Play

Source: The Art of Play Infographic by Wooden Toy Shop.

What is the Art of Play?

Play is an essential part of learning for children (and adults!). By engaging in the art of play, young children learn through both imagining and doing, which directly simulates their brain to support positive cognitive development, social-emotional learning, and physical well-being.

How Play Effects the Brain

According to the The Art of Play infographic from Wooden ToyShop, play-based learning can:

  1. Simulate growth of the cerebral cortex (the area of the brain responsible for higher-level thinking skills).
  2. Improve memory and attention span.
  3. Help children feel happy and fulfilled.
  4. Encourage cognitive development and brain growth.
  5. Establish neurological connections.
  6. Increase the ability to learn and succeed academically.
  7. Increase problem solving abilities.

Stages of Socialization During Play

Solitary Play

Toddlers like to play on their own.  This teaches a child how to keep themselves entertained and promotes self-learning.

Onlooker Play

This is when a child watches other children playing around them.  Onlooker play allows the child to develop early-literacy skills, like vocabulary, and to learn from others by mimicking their actions.

Parallel Play

When children of the same age play in the same room but not together, they learn social skills such as taking turns.

Cooperative Play

When children work together to build a block tower or play a game, it helps them build social skills such as teamwork, negotiation, and cooperation.

Dramatic Play

Dressing-up as a doctor, or pretending to be a superhero, helps children develop creativity and social-emotional skills necessary for problem solving.

Competitive Play

Competition allows children to understand the rules, and how to win and lose. This is important both for goal setting, perseverance, and social-emotional development.

Physical Play

Active play whether throwing a ball or riding a bike, helps promote children’s health and physical development, such as fine and gross motor skills.

Constructive Play

Playing with manipulatives like toy trains and building blocks teaches children how things fit together and how to manipulate objects with their hands.  These fine more skills are important for future development of handwriting.

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Research Findings about the Benefits of Play

Children naturally want to explore their world.

  • 20% of playtime is spent doing physical activities.

In research studies, while children play with blocks,

  • 88% of the time, they are engaged in math, such as developing early numeracy skills, like counting.

Elementary school students that have

  • 15 minutes of recess per day are better behaved.
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The Art of Play by Wooden Toy Shop.