The Importance of Play

The evidence for play as integral to children's joy and love of learning is overwhelming. Parents, educators, and communities can support play by building knowledge and practice with children. 

Despite a wealth of evidence supporting the importance of play for children’s educational outcomes, access to play as part of learning is limited, often regulated, and only partially understood. The following links provoke interest and enthusiasm for play.

Dr Peter Gray, author of “Free to Learn,” defines play and discusses why unleashing the instinct of play makes children happier, more self-reliant, and better students for life.

Pasi Sahlberg, Finnish educator, teacher, and author has worked as a schoolteacher, teacher-educator, academic, and policymaker in Finland, and has advised schools and education system leaders around the world. He is currently Professor of Education at Southern Cross University in Lismore, NSW, Australia. Read his blog Let the children play.

The True Play Foundation seeks to support the work of educators and communities who are committed to creating practices, programs and policies that protect and support the right of every child to uninterrupted, self-determined True Play.

The five characteristics of learning through play.

Neuroscience educator, teacher, and public speaker, Nathan Wallis provides useful videos that can help with ideas about learning at home:

Outdoor play

Outdoor spaces and thoughtfully designed playgrounds are important for children's play. Knowing where to find great playgrounds and what makes them good for your family's needs supports parents to be part of the playground conversation. Check out this useful, local Playground Finder.

Why play is important - article (languages other than English): Arabic (PDF: 395kb), Dari (PDF: 398kb), Dinka (PDF: 308kb), Hakha Chin (PDF: 301kb), Karen (PDF: 216kb), Persian (PDF: 197kb), Simplified Chinese (PDF: 329kb), Swahili (PDF: 304kb), Tamil (PDF: 705kb), Vietnamese (PDF: 322kb)