Marie Hartwell-Walker, Ed.D. stated it well in her article The Benefits of Play when she identified play as “one of the most important gifts” one can offer a child as, “play or free, unstructured time in the case of older children and adolescents, is essential to the cognitive, physical, social, and emotional well-being of children and youth.” Play is not only fun, but essential to healthy development. As a therapist, Walker’s article validates my focus on bringing play into therapy to support children healing from trauma, loss and life stressors.
In addition I have personally witnessed the beauty of play bringing families together and strengthening bonds. Play is a gift that parents and caregivers can offer to children by simply providing free time or by entering into their children’s worlds through taking part in play. Reading the benefits of play for children is also a helpful reminder for adults that play, although it changes as we grow, is an important part of finding a healthy balance in life. It certainly made me stop and reflect, how have I played this week?