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  • Writer's pictureLaura Brown

Why We Play: Joy, Connection, Learning, and So Much More!

Let's talk about play.

Play is about so much more than toys and fun. Play is how we connect, learn, and experience our environment. Play helps form important neural connections in the brain and develops skills like empathy, creativity, and cooperation.

For children, play is the cornerstone of development. Children need a strong foundation of play skills before language, physical skills, and problem-solving abilities can develop. Play lives at the intersection of all developmental skills and is the primary vehicle for building skills across all developmental domains.

Children learn so many important skills through play.

🔴Social engagement and reciprocity

🟠Receptive and expressive language

🟡Perspective taking and empathy

🟢Gross and fine motor skills

🌐Curiousity and creativity

🔵Problem solving


Play can take on many forms including exploratory play, body movement, creative play, play with objects (toys), social games, and imaginative play. Try following these simple guidelines for play with babies and toddlers:

✏ Floor: Get down on the floor with your child.

✏ Face to face: Get on their level so you are seeing eye to eye.

✏ Follow their lead: See what catches their interest and build off that.

✏ Facilitate Turn-Taking: Try to keep the interaction going back and forth.

Turn-taking is not about forced sharing. It is about establishing reciprocity- those important back and forth interactions that are the earliest conversations and the foundation for communication skills. Respond to your child's actions in play and imitate what they are doing. Pause in the middle of play and see if they will tell you somehow (verbally or nonverbally) that they want you to keep playing.

Learn more about how to develop play skills in children 0-36 months by exploring my new guide on Instagram: @mommyandmemilestones. Go to my home page, find the 📖 Guide Icon, and you will find ALL the information about play. This guide describes the development of play skills and the amazing benefits of play. It educates on the various types of play and is full of actionable tips for how to enrich the development of young children through play.

Help spread the word! We are NOT JUST PLAYING!

The #notjustplaying designs are available now in my online storefront.

Happy Playing!

Laura Brown, MA, CCC-SLP

Mommy & Me Milestones


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