The impulse to play is innate. Play is a biological, psychological and social necessity, and is fundamental to the healthy development and well being of individuals and communities.
Play is an extension of the person. Piaget* theorised that to a child play is work. An action repeated for its own sake becomes part of a play sequence.
Through play, children discover their world in bite-sized portions.
Children develop the skill of symbolising in play, so that even if they don’t have exactly what they need with regard to resources, they can improvise or make do and still gain pleasure from their activities.
They can learn about the properties of objects or substances.
Play is a means of self-discovery - what you like or don’t like to do, who you like or don’t like to include in your play. Play, offered in a natural way, i.e. as the child develops and grows, sets its own challenges and conundrums.
Through play, the child can act out scenes from real life that have confused or even frightened them.
adult can support or reassure during this type of play, being mindful that this belongs to the child and should not be monopolised by a well-meaning but interfering grown-up.
Play can be loud or quiet; it can be solitary or carried out in a group; it can be vigorous and active or peaceful and almost silent. It is the one thing everyone desires to be able to do and which most of us, at least during our early years, have managed to achieve to a greater or lesser degree. Play allows for creativity and invention. It inspires and motivates. Without play - what are we?

There are many different types of play and children can be involved in more than one type at any time. For example, children often pretend they are builders (pretend play) when they are constructing a tower or a road (constructive play). Likewise babies can initiate peek-a-boo (games with rules)...