The Social Benefits of Play

Over the past few weeks, we discussed the physical and emotional benefits of play and the importance of a daily activity level in bringing out the best of each.. This week we shift our focus to the social benefits of play.


1. Group Interaction
When playing in groups, kids learn social roles and cultural rules, develop appropriate cooperation skills, and learn a shared system of symbols, including verbal and body language. When children develop and test relationships, they learn self-control, compromise and negotiation skills. Kids also learn survival skills, independence and acceptable group activities to build on as they grow up. Voice of Play


2. Connecting to Others
On the playground, children learn to interact and respond to other children, as well as strengthen and create friendships. “They will learn to be sensitive to other’s needs and perspectives when engaging in play, and thus learn to negotiate and compromise when their perspectives or needs are in conflict with those of their friends. Play will often require individuals to work together, and through this cooperation children will learn to share with others.” Indiana University


3. Dealing With Conflicts in a Safe Place
“It is important to create an environment and social climate that protects children and allows them to play without fear. Because play is the way children learn about the world and how to deal with conflicts, they should feel secure and comfortable in their surroundings, and have opportunities to freely play in order to calm their fears and anxieties. Children develop best in the context of a caring community where they are safe and valued, their physical needs are met, and they feel psychologically secure.”
Kathleen Alfano, Ph.D.


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