Open Accessibility Menu

The Importance of Play

  • Category: Parenting
  • Posted on:
  • Written By: Jeanne Ancar, Parent Educator at The Parenting Center at Children's Hospital New Orleans
The Importance of Play

Play: a little word with a big impact. Parents that work full-time might find it difficult to play after a long day at work but play time does not have to be a stressful activity that takes up hours. Playing can be easily incorporated while doing other activities in the afternoon when you get home.

Numerous Benefits

There are numerous benefits and skills a child can gain during play time such as language, social skills, physical abilities, cognitive skills and creativity.

Language- learning how to communicate and learning new vocabulary.

Social skills- playing together with others and sharing.

Physical abilities- running around a playground, balancing blocks, motor skills.

Cognitive skills- Problem solving.

Creativity- creating new games and pretend-play.

For more information regarding benefits of play please visit ZERO TO THREE | Early Connections Last a Lifetime.

Keep It Simple

Look for everyday opportunities to have fun. We can include our children in helping us cook, clean, bath time and other tasks we perform around the house. While preparing dinner, playing a simple game of “I spy” with different items in the kitchen can easily be added into that time. Bringing in a few of their favorite toys to bath time and following their lead is also a great way to add play to a busy schedule.

Toys and Play Materials

Playing does not have to be structured or what one thinks it should typically look like. Physical toys aren’t the only options we should consider when we play. Sure, trains, blocks and bubbles are fun, but we can also use our imagination as well. Using objects around the house such as cardboard boxes, laundry hampers, and bed sheets to play with can also be fun! Laundry hampers can be used as cars, carboard boxes can be houses, and we can be ghosts in our bed sheets. Imagination and creativity are what makes playing much more fun.

Visit for more toy resources.


Encourage your child to engage in play when they show interest and join in with them in any opportunity. Playing is fundamental in the growth of a child’s development. Anytime is a good time to play, all you need is your imagination!

Learn more about the Parenting Center at Children's Hospital New Orleans: