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Play is an important part of the developmental process. Through play children learn about the world around them—how things sound when they are banged or dropped or poured, if one thing fits inside another, how things work. Play is a route to cognitive, physical, emotional, and social development. It helps children develop curiosity, practice motor tasks, and learn empathy and understanding of the behavior of others. Play enables children to be active participants in the world. They take action and make things happen.

For most children, play is spontaneous and experimental. It progresses from random to more purposeful. Eventually, it becomes imaginative and problem solving. It begins alone or with an adult, then becomes parallel with other children, and then social. Your child might be zooming right through these developmental stages or you might have to intervene to help your child progress. Either way, we hope the ideas, tools, and techniques in this section will be of help. Many more ideas for movement and games appear in the Sports, Games and Leisure Time section of this website.


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