Importance of Play | Early Start Discovery Space

Importance of Play


Play is as natural to a child as smiling, crawling or reaching out to a loved one for a hug…it is also recognised as a powerful developmental force that encourages exploration, risk taking, the development of social networks and engagement with learning.

Although many parents understand that their child’s earliest years shape later development and learning, they are often unsure about what they should be doing to promote healthy emotional, social and intellectual development.

As a destination dedicated to playful learning, this is where the Discovery Space can act as a partner for families, early childhood centres and schools by enhancing the value that children gain through play-based experiences.

All of the Discovery Space experiences have been wholly dedicated to inspire and encourage meaningful play and, therefore, learning. Through a ‘partnership of play’ – between children, parents, educators and the Discovery Space team – we hope to enhance the enduring benefits that children receive from play.

Further reading:


Raising Children: Why play is important
Eureka: The National Children’s Museum (UK): Play for today

United Nations Human Rights (1990) Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights: Convention on the Rights of the Child

Books and articles

Vygotsky, L.S. (1978). Mind in society: The development of higher psychological processes (M. Cole, V. John-Steiner, S. Scribner & E. Souberman, trans.). Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.

Elkind, D. (2007). The power of play: How spontaneous imaginative activities lead to happier, healthier children. Cambridge, MA: Da Capo Press.

Singer, J., & Singer, D. (2006). Preschoolers’ imaginative play as precursor of narrative consciousness. Imagination, Cognition and Personality, 25(2), 97-117.

Verenikina, I., Herrington, J., Peterson, R., and Mantei, J. (2010). Computers and play in early childhood: Affordances and limitations. Journal of Interactive Learning Research, 21 (1), 139-159.

Broadhead, P., Howard, J., & Wood, E. (eds) (2010) Play and Learning in the Early Years. London: Sage

Siraj-Blatchford, I. (2009) Conceptualising progression in the pedagogy of play and sustained shared thinking in early childhood education: a Vygotskian perspective. Education and Child Psychology, 26 (2), 77-89