It would be hard to overstate the importance of play in children’s learning and development. Play is …
* the way that children interact with and consequently learn about their world;
* vital for developing language and acquiring new vocabulary;
* crucial for building both fine and gross motor skills;
* essential for learning how to share, socialise and build relationships with others;
* a brilliant way for children to express their emotions and develop their confidence;
* critical for helping children learn how to assess and manage risk;
* the way in which children come to understand the concept of symbolic representation;
* important for healthy physical development;
* vital for building creativity and imagination;
* the perfect way to explore new ideas and make new connections (as an adult, too).
It strikes me that the gap between what we call ‘advantaged’ and ‘disadvantaged’ children is at least partly about a deficit in opportunities to play. Today is National Play Day: the perfect opportunity to play with those you love (a child, a pet, a friend, yourself). I’m keen to go and play with my family on the beach, so I’ll stop there and wish a happy play day to one and all!