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Play is fun for children. Play is the way children learn.

Through play, children learn about themselves, their environment, people and the world around them. As they play, children learn to solve problems and to get along with others. They enhance their creativity and develop leadership skills and healthy personalities. Play develops skills children need to learn to read and write. Play in early childhood is the best foundation for success in school.

As a child learns to reach, grasp, crawl, run, climb and balance, physical skills are developed. Dexterity develops when the child handles toys or other objects.

Language increases as a child plays and interacts with others. A baby's cooing games with parents evolve into the language skills of a child sharing stories. Learning to cooperate, negotiate, take turns and play by the rules are important interpersonal lifetime skills, all of which play fosters.

Positive play experiences develop positive emotional well-being. Through play and imagination, a child can fulfill wishes and overcome fears of unpleasant experiences. Play helps the child master the environment. When children feel secure, safe, successful and capable, they acquire important components of positive emotional health.

Resource: Learning Through Play - a Child's Job
By Jane K. Frobose
Colorado State University Extension
Family and Consumer Education
Denver County, February 2008