In a recent CNN Opinon article, Want to get your kids into college? Let them play, Erika Christakis, MEd, MPH, and Nicholas Christakis, MD, PhD, state:
Academic achievement in college requires readiness skills that transcend mere book learning. It requires the ability to engage actively with people and ideas. In short, it requires a deep connection with the world. For a five year-old, this connection begins and ends with the creating, questioning, imitating, dreaming, and sharing that characterize play. When we deny young children play, we are denying them the right to understand the world.
Play is central to childrens cognitive development. Play helps children learn concepts that adults may take for granted. We may understand cause and effect, or how to organize objects, or that an object under a blanket is still there even though we can't see it. For young children, these ideas and others are new. Play is nature's way of helping kids experiment with how the world works, how to think, and how to solve problems.
Luckily for parents and caregivers, we dont need to do much in order to help nurture our childrens cognitive skills. We just need to provide time and space for our kids to play make-believe, construct a cardboard clubhouse, take their dolls pulse, create something, or run around the playground with their favorite superhero friends.
For timeless toys that foster play and help build cognitive skills, visit your local neighborhood toy store. The toy experts there will be able to tailor ideas specifically for your childs age and interests.