What these authors also addressed is that their research supported the thinking that play allows youngsters across species to practice skills that they will need for effectively handling social situations as they grow up. Some social areas impacted the most by play were learning how to effectively interact with other people and learning how to share and take turns. It also supported that play helps strengthen cognitive skills (like thinking and memory) as kids grow up.
There are a large number of other studies that support the importance of play across many different species. What this research shows is how the importance of play seems rooted in the very basic parts of how we develop socially and neurologically. It also shows that play benefits young individuals of all species by helping them learn skills that they will need for communicating and acting effectively with other members of the species as they grow older.
Play also tends to have its benefits because it allows kids to learn very important skills with at least some supervision (or ways to get supervision if needed) and where there are at least some specified rules for what is expected.
Children benefit from activities where there is somebody available if there is a problem and there are at least some very basic rules set for what is expected. If kids are otherwise given room to learn needed social skills and problem-solving skills, play can have a very important role in their development.
Are you giving your kids enough opportunities to play and develop?
Pellis, S. M., Pellis, V. C., Himmler, B. T., Modlińska, K., Stryjek, R., Kolb, B., & Pisula, W. (2019). Domestication and the role of social play on the development of socio-cognitive skills in rats. International Journal of Comparative Psychology, 32.
Written by: Dr. Daniel Marston Originally appeared on: Psychology Today Republished with permission