5 Reasons Why It’s Healthy to Encourage Children to Play



Child and Adolescent Psychotherapist, Katie Hurley, lists 5 reasons why play is beneficial for children:

1. Stress relief:

Play provides an opportunity for young children to process and work through the negative emotions they encounter throughout the day. Being a kid might seem like all fun and games, and perhaps their “problems” seem insignificant at times, but they do encounter stress along the way. heir problems feel big and overwhelming to them.

Children work through all kinds of emotions when engrossed in unstructured play. They might start out feeling stressed, but once lost in a world of imagination, they gradually let go of their stress and restore a sense of calm.

2. Emotional regulation:

Parents often ask me how to teach their children the art of emotional regulation. Little kids tend to have very big feelings and they often react before they have time to even process the event that triggered the feelings.

Through play, children learn to control their impulses and work through their emotions. They learn to find the triggers and problem-solve potential solutions.

3. Better social interaction skills:

Unstructured group play is the best way to let kids work on social interaction skills. When engrossed in group play, kids have to learn how to cooperate, resolve conflicts, empathize with others, and relate to peers.

4. Promotes creative problem-solving:

You can memorize answers to math questions (and you can even memorize strategies to solve difficult math problems), but you can’t memorize ways to solve real-life problems. What if a puzzle piece goes missing? What if another child is left out of a group? What if the tower just won’t stay up?

Children face a variety of problems each day, and these problems vary by age and stage. They have to learn how to step back and evaluate a situation before giving up or becoming hysterical. They have to learn how to think outside of the box. And that is something they can learn through the power of play.

5. Promotes learning:

The great irony of increasing academic pressure at the expense of unstructured play is that play actually promotes learning. Have you ever watched kids dump out a recycling bin and build something from nothing just because they felt like it? It takes planning, creative thinking, cooperation and resourcefulness to transform a bunch of old cardboard into a monster truck show, you know.

Play is the most natural learning style for children. They learn from play from the very first moment they shove wooden blocks into their mouths and they continue to learn through more advanced play as they grow.

So go ahead and say no to that party this weekend, speak up when the academics become overwhelming and start cutting back on those extracurricular activities. Happier, and less stressful, days are ahead for children. All you have to do is let them play.


Click on the link to read Allowing Children to Stand Out From the Pack

Click on the link to read Hilarious Examples of Kids Telling It As It Is

Click on the link to read Kids Can Operate an iPad but Can’t Tie their Shoelaces

Click on the link to read What is the Difference Between Over-Praising Children and Lying to Them?

Click on the link to read The Skills Kids Can Learn from Traditional Board Games

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3 Responses to “5 Reasons Why It’s Healthy to Encourage Children to Play”

  1. kellyfdennis Says:

    Reblogged this on Therapy Central and commented:
    I would add that play is important for adults, too! Adults who play have more empathy, are better creators, innovators, and problem solvers. Lets Go Play!!

  2. pennypinchingpeach Says:

    Play is just as important to little ones as formal education.

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