Why Playing Together Matters

Why Playing Together Matters

It is often fascinating and fun to watch your child learn to play with others. You may not realize all that is happening in their brains as they are stacking blocks, cooking “breakfast” or passing a ball back and forth with you or another child.

The National Institute for Play identifies 7 patterns of play that promote brain development, foster relationships and increase skills. One of these patterns is Social Play.

The NIFP describes the development of Social Play and its benefits for children:

“Kids start this process by ‘parallel’ play, i.e., without much consciousness of the feelings or status of the play partner. But as development proceeds, friendships happen, empathy for another is felt, with mutual play as the crucible in which it becomes refined. Group loyalty and affection ensues, and with it the rudiments of a functioning community.”

At Especially for Children, free choice time is built into each day. This unstructured time gives children the opportunity to play alongside or with one another. As shown in the research, this provides a foundation for some very important life concepts – friendship, empathy, loyalty and community.

To learn more about the patterns of play, visit http://www.nifplay.org