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The Importance of Play

Play is powerful - and has a purpose!

Play time is an essential part of early childhood and brain development! 

Nothing is more natural than a child at play. Did you know that play time not only promotes bonding with parents and caregivers, but also allows children to develop key social, cognitive, and motor skills? Play is so important to child development that it has been recognized by the United Nations Commissions for Human Rights as a right of every child. Port Discovery encourages our play-to-learn philosophy both inside the Museum and at home. Explore this page for educational resources, inspiration, tips and news regarding play and the power it has in children's lives!  


The Importance of Play Video Series

7 Powers of Play

Promote the 7 Powers of Play with your child: Confidence, Creative Thinking, Critical Thinking, Self Control, Collaboration, Communication, & Coordination! Click here to watch the short video!

Play for Infants & Toddlers

Play is just as important for infants and toddlers! Learn about how play helps stimulate the senses of infants and toddlers, fosters parent-child interaction and more! Click here to watch the short video!

3 Skills Kids Learn Through Play

Play at any age helps enhance cognitive skills, emotional development and physical development! From developing reasoning to learning how to manage their own behavior, children enhance essential developmental skills through play! Click here to watch the short video! 

4 Ways to Support Your Child's Play

Are you supporting your child's play time? Ask open-ended questions that allow children to explain themselves, make observations of your child's actions, pose challenges for your child and most importantly - talk, talk, talk! Click here to watch the short video! 

Importance of Play Blogs

The Importance of Play

As a parent, you know play is important, but did you know that playtime I more than a way to get the wiggles out and have fun? Play is also a way to learn, develop, interact and grow!

At Port Discovery, we believe in the power of play. As acclaimed author Diane Ackerman stated, “Play is our brain’s favorite way of learning.” Play is powerful, educational, and inspires curiosity and imagination that fuel children’s development and dreams.

We want every child to have the opportunity to play—and to benefit greatly from their playtime, too. To help spread the power of play and ensure all children have a chance to play with a purpose, we’re sharing some of our top tips about play.

The Benefits of Play

Today’s Lego block builder is the next architect; your mini maze runner may be a budding mathematician; and the fossil digger may grow up to be an archaeologist.

Activities ordinarily dismissed as “fun and games” actually provide children with the opportunity to learn, grow and imagine. As adults, it is important to make these connections and understand the benefits of play. 

Here are 5 Benefits of Play:

  1. Play advances learning
    Through play, children have opportunities to experiment, problem-solve, apply skills they’re learning, investigate, and more!
  2. Play promotes social skills
    Children develop communication, sharing, and cooperation skills by playing with others.
  3. Play boosts physical development
    Activities such as running and jumping keep children active and allows them to fine tune their motor skills.
  4. Play increases self-awareness
    Play provides an opportunity for children to develop their own personality, increases self-confidence, and reduces anxiety.
  5. Play feeds the imagination
    During playtime, children are visualizing, creating, and exploring scenarios and outcomes.

Skills Kids Learn Through Play

  1. Cognitive Skills
    Play allows children to apply a variety of skills testing their memory, judgment, and reasoning.
  2. Emotional Development
    Play provides opportunities for children to manage their own behavior, and increases self-awareness.
  3. Physical Development
    Activities foster muscle development, help fine-tune motor skills, and promote a healthy lifestyle.

The Power of Play

Active play time is active learning time.

Powerful play is captivating and fun; active and challenging; and self-directed and open-ended. We can consider play—whether it’s a game of soccer, climbing through a jungle gym, or molding clay— a child’s superpower, because it enables them the tools and opportunities to activate their potential.

The 7 Powers Children Gain through Play:

  1. Confidence
    Through play, children show enthusiasm, persistence and a willingness to try new things.
  2. Creative thinking
    Through play, children are encouraged to imagine, improvise, reinvent, dare and innovate. These opportunities also help children to form their own personalities.
  3. Critical thinking
    Play builds a child’s critical thinking skills. When a child is playing, they are exhibiting curiosity, making plans, and problem-solving.
  4. (Self) control
    Through play, children focus, make reasonable choices and regulate emotions, behaviors and actions
  5. Collaboration
    Through play, children connect with others, cooperate, empathize and engage in teamwork
  6. Communication
    Through play, children express thoughts and ideas, engage in discussions and listen.
  7. Coordination
    Through play, children exhibit awareness of the body’s abilities, and develop precision, strength, balance and endurance.

Supporting Their Play

Now that we have established the benefits, skills and powers of play, it is time to equip you with the tools necessary to guide and unlock your child’s potential through play.

We encourage parents and caregivers to support children’s play.

Here are some ways to make play even more powerful!

Here are 4 Ways to Support Play:

  1. Ask open-ended questions                                   
  2. Make observations
  3. Pose challenges
  4. Talk, talk, talk!

Play is a building block of life and we at Port Discovery are committed to building a strong future for our children.

Looking for a fully immersive experience that fuses fun with learning? Port Discovery is the most effective environment for children to experience informal, playful learning. 

Unable to join us in person? Visit this link to access resources for parents and teachers.

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