Can you remember playing as a child? Some of my best childhood memories are centered on playtime. As a young girl I loved to play with dolls. I have always been very shy and I was able to play with my dolls without feeling shy.

As adults we sometimes forget how important play is to children. As we get older we tend to think of play as a luxury and not as a learning tool. As a daycare teacher I often have parents ask me questions such as “Did my child just play all day?” or “What did my child learn today?” I am sometimes stumped by these questions and give a simple answer such as “We learned about these letters” in hopes that this answer will please the parent; but the child learned much more than just a letter that day. The truth is children learn so much about the world around them through play. A child learns physical skills, both small and large motor. They learn language skills as well as how to interact with others. Play also helps develop a child’s emotional health. A child learns through their five senses; touch, taste, smell, sight, and sound. A child’s senses are positively stimulated during playtime.

A child’s very first playmate is their parents. As a newborn watches the parent they begin to learn to mimic mom and dad. The baby will make a cooing sound and the parent will coo back. This game is the very beginning of language development. Children develop a large amount of their physical skills through playing. They learn to crawl, then walk, then run. As a child gets old enough to play with other children they learn how to interact with others in an appropriate manner, they learn to follow rules and be respectful. Through interacting with others a child begins to develop emotional skills.

Children are continuously learning and play is one of the best ways for them to learn. So when you ask your child “What did you do today?” and they reply with a simple “Played” keep in mind they did a whole bunch of learning too.

-Tamara Norton (Bravo Employee)