The Importance of Play


Play is an essential part of children's development.  It is how they first discover their world. Play starts in infancy and ideally, continues throughout life.  Play time may look like leisure time but when children are baking pretend cookies, fighting imaginary dragons, or organizing a game of hopscotch, they are actually developing crucial life skills and preparing their brains for adulthood.


Play develops children's brains by prompting their nerve cells to form new connections.  These new connections produce fine motor, gross motor, socialization, and problem-solving skills.  The boxes below show specific lessons learned during common play activities:
















Our teachers are committed to maximizing the benefits of our students' play time.  We play with our students and supply interesting materials, providing hands-on instruction and promoting independent learning. Teacher-student play creates lasting bonds and provides a myriad of opportunites to learn from each other. Our teachers are privileged to have daily opportunities to view the world through the eyes of a child. At Madison Oak Preschool, teachers and students play, learn, and have fun!



  • Scientific principles and concepts (balance, gravity, cause and effect, etc.)

  • Mathematical concepts (symmetry, shape, geometry)

  • Small motor skills; hand-eye coordination

  • Feelings of competence and self-esteem

  • Concentration and abstract thought

  • Social interaction with others

  • Creativity and organization of materials* 



  • Understanding daily living activities

  • Concentration and attention skills

  • Sequential acts and story writing/telling

  • Flexibility, cooperation and compromise

  • Empathy and consideration for the feelings of others

  • Abstract thinking*



  • Patterns, rhythm and differences in sounds

  • Expands a child’s imagination

  • Aids physical fitness, balance, coordination and movement abilities

  • Language skills (verbal and listening)

  • Small motor skills; hand-eye coordination

  • Memory, rhyming*

*What Young Children Learn Through Play by Sean Brotherson, Ph.D. Family Science Specialist;

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