Play is important!
It's fun and it helps children learn. Imaginative, creative play is essential for childhood development (and grownup development too!).
Imaginative play helps children to develop a critical cognitive skill: executive function. Executive function helps a child (and an adult) to self-regulate his or her actions. “Children with good self-regulation are better able to control their emotions, their behavior, resist impulses and exert self-control and discipline.” [NPR's Morning Edition] Also, children do better in school when they have developed their executive function to a higher level.
The Children's Museum of Atlanta supports all types of creative play, from role-playing in the grocery store to becoming the driver of our crane. Through this play, children are learning and growing. They are becoming early scientists — “If I do this, then what happens next?”, and mathematicians - “how many apples can I put in this basket?”.
The links below provide more information on the importance of play in your child's life and how you can help facilitate that play — both in the Museum and at home.
NPR's Morning Edition:
Two great stories on the Power of Play.
The American Academy of Pediatrics:
A full report on the importance of play.