Show Them the Way and Take Time to Play

How is it that children can so gleefully play without a care in the world? They get lost, completely immersed in their make-believe world. We all need to take a few lessons and learn the art of being playful. If play is important to healthy development in children, what can our students glean from playing now and then? You may be surprised, there are many benefits to developing your playful side.

  • Relieves Stress
    • Endorphins are released, they are our natural “feel good” chemical. They help to create on overall sense of well-being.
    • Increases our sense of control and predictability, two pillars of stress reduction
  • Improves Brain Functionality
    • Improves working memory
    • Stimulates the growth of the cerebral cortex
    • BDNF, a substance essential for the growth of brain cells is triggered
  • Improves Interpersonal Skills
    • Teaches cooperation with others
    • Expands our vocabulary
    • Increases our ability to recognize facial expressions and body language
    • Improves relationships and our connection with others
  • Boosts Creativity
    • Increases our ability to solve problems
    • Encourages innovation and trying new ideas
    • Expands our imagination and perceptions
  • Physical Health
    • Strengthens our muscles, increases bone density and improves our heart and lungs
    • Improves our reflexes, flexibility, coordination, balance and fine and gross motor skills
    • Promotes better eating and sleeping habits
  • Emotional Stability
    • Builds self-confidence
    • Releases emotions from trauma
    • Increases our ability to express our emotions
    • Develops spontaneity and humor

For many, it’s easy to play with a child, to lean over a newborn baby and smile and goo or to playfully wrestle with a toddler. As children grow, playing catch, riding bikes, building Legos, playing with trucks and tractors or barbies and dolls are all fun things to do and a part of healthy childhood development.

As our Cascade Academy students’ personalities develop, they are experiencing so many changes emotionally, physically, and mentally.  It is important that they be encouraged to play for healthy development. It is not uncommon for our students to enjoy the following:

  • Singing and dancing
  • Playing board games
  • Skiing
  • Riding horses
  • Taking an art class
  • Playing sports
  • Hiking
  • Riding bikes
  • Having a bonfire