How Does Play Promote Intellectual Development?
The theory of mind shows that there is a direct connection between a child's ability to play pretend and the positive development of the mind, especially in regard to the abilities of negotiation, problem solving, social and linguistic skills. The ability of children to play together puts them in situations that allow their minds to meet new challenges and learn from them.
Play for children, especially at a young age, involves many natural learning situations. Instead of planned lessons, children learn involuntarily to solve problems and address situations by doing, exploring and even failing. When children are able to interact with others, even of different ages, there is a noticeable increase in literacy and the use of literacy materials, such as books, pens, papers and learning materials.
In addition to the mental skills that children learn and sharpen during play, they also improve their physical skills. Play time involving sports, playgrounds or other physical activities increase many of their motor skills. According to the Virginia Cooperative Extension website, children who get a good amount of playtime in during the day show improvement in coordination, muscle growth, bone growth, strength and endurance. Play not only helps a child learn and grow, but it keeps them healthy and improves their social skills with other children.