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April 5, 2024

Play for All Ages: Share How YOU Play!

The graphic below illustrates how the development of a child’s kinetic scope leads to growth in their senses, control, coordination, balance, intuition, and power. Foundational to learning, students aren’t ready to understand their ABC’s and 123’s until these developmental milestones have been achieved. To meet these milestones, students need to play.

Image courtesy of lookwhatikandu


Play engages all the senses, allowing children to explore and understand the world around them. Whether it’s feeling different textures, observing vibrant colors, or listening to various sounds, play experiences stimulate sensory receptors, facilitating development. Through play, children refine their sensory processing abilities.


Play provides opportunities for children to practice and refine their fine and gross motor skills. Grasping objects, coloring with crayons, or climbing on the playground, these activities develop proprioception—how our bodies understand the way they move in space, muscle control and coordination. As children play, they master complex movements essential for academic tasks.

Coordination and Balance

Play activities involve physical movement which challenge children to use their balance and coordination. Whether it’s riding a bike, playing tag, or kicking a ball, children learn to move their bodies, promoting spatial awareness. Through practice, children learn to adjust their movements, which improves balance and coordination, increasing students’ spatial reasoning and confidence.


Play encourages experimentation and exploration. Children naturally gravitate towards activities that pique their curiosity, allowing them to discover concepts and principles through firsthand experiences. Whether it’s building with blocks, exploring nature, or engaging in imaginative play, children develop problem-solving skills and critical thinking abilities. Play nurtures a sense of wonder and creativity, instilling a lifelong love for learning.


“You can’t run uphill indoors” is a phrase author of A Moving Child is a Learning ChildGill Connell uses when she talks about power. Although power can be practiced and learned indoors, finding room to run and play outdoors provides students with the chance to see what it feels like to be physically strong. Power  builds confidence so children believe “I can do it!” Active learning that involves the whole body builds athletic abilities like agility, flexibility, and endurance, all associated with physical power. The practice of power comes naturally to children, instills intrinsic motivation, and nurtures curiosity.

Tell Us How You Play!

Play takes many forms, and can incorporate the use of music, technology, movement, time outdoors, and other strategies to engage students in learning. One of the most important ways to encourage play in others is to play ourselves.

That’s why we want to hear from our teachers: How do YOU play?

Share how you play, and how playful learning is influential and instrumental in your life by contributing to this Padlet.

Then, if you’re ready to harness the power of play in your classroom, explore course 5315: The Brilliance of Playful Learning for All Ages. This course covers the basics of play including:

  • Ways to add playful learning to your curriculum 
  • Understanding what the research says about the necessity of play for learning 
  • How to advocate for play
  • An opportunity to share how you play as an adult
  • Ideas for bringing play into professional settings

About the Author

Susanne Leslie is a Professional Learning Specialist at Teaching Channel. She holds a B.A. in Sociology and a Master’s in Education. As a parent educator, Susanne’s specialty is Culture and Early Childhood instruction. In her current role, she writes courses and content, focusing on our Hybrid Blended Learning courses

Fun Fact: Susanne has jumped out of two (perfectly good) airplanes!


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