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Play and Mental Health

“The Importance of Play: Why It’s Essential for Children’s Mental Health”

Did you know that play is an important part of a child’s mental health? The saying “Play is a child’s job” is very true – it’s a crucial part of their physical, emotional and social development. Play allows children to explore their world, express their feelings and build relationships with others. Not only that, it can help children learn and understand the world around them, develop problem-solving skills and even reduce stress and anxiety. So, don’t underestimate the power of play – it’s essential to a child’s growth and well-being.

Intellidance® logo. The Importance of Play: Why It's Essential for Children's Mental Health. Toddler girl wearing a purple tutu crawls through a rainbow colored tunnel.

What We Know About Children’s Mental Health

A startling 2016 statistic from the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC.org) shows 1 in 5 U.S. children aged 2–8 years (17.4%) had a diagnosed mental, behavioral, or developmental disorder. According to Yale Medicine, studies show that even a child as young as 2 years old can experience depression. And, from March 2020 to October 2020, mental health-related emergency department visits increased 24% for children ages 5 to 11.

Pandemic trauma aside, a major factor in the decline of childhood mental health is the loss of play. Kids today are losing out on the opportunity to play freely, whether it’s due to schools cutting back on recess or a rise in screen time at home. This is a massive problem that is limiting children’s ability to explore and express themselves.

Play and Mental Health

Intellidance® logo. During play kids can... explore life on their own terms, manage their behavior and emotions, develop problem-solving skills, make their own decisions, understand the consequences of their actions, reach their full potential! 3-5 year old boy sitting and playing with wooden blocks.

The research is undeniable: fostering free playtime in childhood carries a host of benefits that can be enjoyed into adulthood. Through imaginative play, children can take charge of their own destinies and explore life on their own terms. Unstructured playtime equips kids with the skills to effectively manage their behavior and a wide range of emotions, while also helping them to develop their problem-solving skills, internal locus of control, confidence and resilience.

Through play, children learn how to make their own decisions and understand the consequences of those decisions, setting them up to become successful, content and healthy adults. By providing children with the opportunity to play, we can ensure that they reach their full potential.

Intellidance® Play With Purpose

At Intellidance®, we know that play is how young children naturally explore and make sense of their world. When children play in a safe and trusting environment, they build relationships, learn to resolve conflict, negotiate and regulate their behavior. Our teachers remain flexible in the direction of each class to ensure they are responding to how children are experiencing play.

Toddler girl smiling and playing with large dance scarves. Another young toddler is also smiling and playing within the scarves.

Learn more about what makes Intellidance® unique

The foundation of the Intellidance® Method is the combination of dance and music concepts, identifying specific vocabulary in dance and music, and developing the understanding of both through the connection between concepts. These connected concepts provide opportunities for children to explore, discover, practice, and create using multiple senses and intelligences. This is what makes the Intellidance® Method so unique!

Interested in learning more? Check out our website to continue reading about Intellidance® Method.

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