The power of play
“Play promotes creativity, imagination, self-confidence, self-efficacy and physical, social, cognitive and emotional strength and skills, and, as a protective process, can enhance adaptive capabilities and resilience”
- “Children’s Right to Play and the Environment”, The International Play Association, (2016),
Play is essential for any child’s well-being and development. For some of the most at risk children in Europe, it can be a lifeline. Through play, children practice essential life skills; they learn to interact and communicate, to express their emotions and to explore their creativity. Play also simply allows children to create positive memories; a fundamental part of any childhood.
Play helps young people become strong and independent individuals. Through play, children practice the skills for later life; they learn to interact and communicate, to express their emotions, to explore their creativity and to grow their physical abilities. Play helps them figure out what they like and don’t like and what they are good at. With a strong sense of identity and self-belief, children are far more resilient to trauma and adversity. Playing with others teaches children to relate to those around them, to understand themselves and the impact of their actions, as well as how other people’s actions make them feel. The children we work with need a space where they can build this social and emotional awareness, to help them cultivate healthy relationships and process and respond to distress. Imaginative and pretend play lets children try out different roles, reenact real-life scenarios and process fears and anxieties. Through imaginative play, children are offered the space to work through traumatic events in their lives, by re-enacting and reframing these events in play.