What is PLAY ? Why do preschool kids play more than study?

Why spend so much time playing ? Shouldn't they be studying ?

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Let's look at different descriptions and views of play by various sources and people:

World Book Dictionary defines play as :
"something done to amuse oneself; fun; sport, recreation."

Emory S Bogardus referred to it as :
"Those activities which are not consciously performed for the sake of any reward beyond themselves"

Friedrich Froebel(1782-1852):
"graduated toys provides early exercise in geometric, artistic and mathematical skills."

Maria Montessori (1870-1952):
"didactic play materials expand pre-mathematical understanding and sensory training.

Sigmund Freud (1856-1939):
"there is therapy / healing through play.

Jean Piaget (1896-1980):
Play contributes to cognition

Jacques Rosseau:
Child's play is his work


  • It is pleasurable, fun and enjoyable.

  • It has no extrinsic goals.

  • is spontaneous and voluntary.

  • involves active engagement.

  • contributes to a child's total development.

    WHY PLAY ?


    Through play, a child learns many skills, gains concepts and understanding, and draws relationships between concepts. He expands his understanding of himself and others, his knowledge of the physical world, and his ability to communicate with peers and adults.


    By running, jumping, skipping, climbing, etc, in play, a child strengthens his muscles and improves his body control and coordination. Some complicated games requiring physical skills with large and small muscular movements help the child inthe refinement of his motor skill.


    Play helps a child to cope with his peers who may irritate as they snatch and scream and kick for the sake of wanting the same toy. With more experiences at play, the child develops an awareness of himself in relation to others and discovers the joy of shared activity and mutual respect.


    Play provides an outlet for feelings. The child can use playthings on which to vent his anger and aggression, and to express his fears and anxieties; or he can pat his favourite cuddly toy to show affection and love. Such skills are useful to gain control of unpleasant feelings and overcome potential problems. It is a way in which children can express their feelings and work through emotional disturbances.

    There are 4 STAGES in young children's play activities:

  • Age 0-2
    Solitary Play

    Toddlers live in a very private world. They play with things in all kinds of inventive ways, exploring and trying things out. They are happy to be alone.

  • Age 2-3
    Parallel Play

    Although aware of each other's existence, children aren't able to cooperate for very long since each is still thinking egocentrically. They will play alongside, but not with each other.

  • Age 3
    Associative Play

    The awareness of th other child is increaseed as they start to communicate.

  • Age 4 and more
    Cooperative Play

    As children start to be able to take other people's wishes and needs into account they start to become more sociable. The gradually learn that cooperation can lead to new and interesting things to do and games to play. They start to be able to make "best friends" out of people who live near and have similar interests, although they can also "fall out" just as quickly.

    How to balance study and play?

    How much can a child learn through play? Is your preschool more work or play? Discuss

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    Like to read more on Child Development? Click here

    Check out Kindergarten Reading Program

    Child Intellectual Development

    Piaget's Stages of Child Development

    Fundamentals of Early Childhood Education

    Montessori Method

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