Children at play are highly motivated, developing physical, social, emotional and cognitive skills at the same time as they are expressing ideas, creativity, and learning concepts. That’s why play is an essential part of childhood. Make time for play. Parents and caregivers can nurture play in their children’s daily lives by encouraging different types of play. 

  • Provide time, space and open-ended materials. Offer props that encourage imagination and can be used in a variety of ways.
  • Model cooperative play. Practice taking turns or working together to build something.
  • Strive to provide real experiences. Spend time (safely) going out into the community. Visit a relative or new place.

This week, April 10-16, 2021 is Week of the Young Child, a time when we celebrate the importance of early childhood and the families, educators, and advocates who support these important years in a child’s life. This year, each day of #WOYC21 will highlight a different way to play. Children learn so much as they sing, cook together, build together, create art, and celebrate with their families. Make time for play this week and every week! Check out the daily themes:

  • Music Monday: Kitchens are full of musical, rhythmical sounds! How many different sounds can you find, or create, in your kitchen?
  • Tasty Tuesday: Have your child help meal prep! Let them wash vegetables, tear lettuce or make an easy recipe with you.
  • Work Together Wednesday: Model cooperative play with your child. Practice taking turns or working together to build something.
  • Arty Thursday: Open-ended art projects help develop fine motor skills. Let your child make choices and use their imaginations.
  • Family Friday: Play together! Noncompetitive games create a sense of unity cooperation and support.

In addition to the themes above, our Parenting Resource Program Video library supports play and family time: 

We also offer parent workshops that explore the importance of play and child development: 

Make time for play every day. Find more ideas on how to support your child through play on our Pinterest page.

And here’s some tips for Active Play, Every Day, at Home from Headstart Early Childhood Learning and Knowledge Center.

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