What’s So Great about Play?

Play builds brains. When kids play, they grow the skills they need to thrive at home, in school and everywhere else.

Kid-Powered Play

Play is most powerful when a child takes the lead. It’s kid-powered play when your child is…

  • Having a good time
  • Exploring freely
  • Showing interest
  • Moving and thinking

The Powers of Play!

Play helps build a wide range of cognitive, emotional and social skills.

Creative Thinking

Challenging assumptions and generating ideas
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Critical Thinking

Testing ideas, making adjustments and drawing conclusions
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Coordination

Building endurance, maintaining balance and moving with precision
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Collaboration

Showing compassion and valuing others’ contributions
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(Self) Control

Sensing how to act, coping with confusion and adapting
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Communication

Listening, understanding and expressing thoughts
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Confidence

Showing grit and persisting when the going gets tough
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What is Kid-Powered Play? Why Kids Should Take the Lead!

As adults, we sometimes have trouble grasping what makes playtime fun for kids. Our brains are more analytical – we want to know why something might be fun, and we want those reasons to be based on fact and evidence. Or we seek to fix what we see as “wrong” play ideas. For example, if a child puts a pair of pants on their head and says it’s their hair, our instinct might be to correct them. Or, if a child is more interested in playing with the cardboard box a toy came in rather than the toy itself, we might try to direct them back to the toy – even when playing with the box is play in itself.

Rather than letting our adult brains take over, it’s crucial that kids are given the creative freedom and space to explore during play. This is kid-powered play – where kids take the lead by making decisions and having the freedom to play however they want. After all, play is most powerful when kids are leading it.

Kid-powered play happens when kids are:

  • Having fun
  • Exploring freely
  • Showing interest
  • Moving and thinking

Kids not only find joy and fun in the process of play, but their brains benefit greatly from being able to wander, imagine and create on their own terms. The development that happens when kids are allowed to play freely is what makes kid-powered play so important. It promotes brain development as it helps children master the 7 Cs of Play: confidence, creative thinking, critical thinking, self-control, collaboration, communication and coordination. Even children as young as two years old benefit from being given the reins on their play.

It seems simple, but many adults often struggle with this concept. By stepping back and following the lead of the child, you’re helping them master critical developmental skills that will ultimately shape their critical and analytical capabilities. Learn more about how you can enhance playtime with these simple tips for supporting kid-powered play at home.

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