Play: The Serious Work of the Child

Adults work hard to find time to play while  play comes naturally to children.  Through play children learn to function asPlay- unique individuals and discover what is in the world around them. Play is often considered “children’s work” because it’s what they do all day.  As children play, they interact with objects in their world.  They also respond to the actions of others.  Doing and thinking become related, and even though children may not be aware, learning is taking place.  These lessons and activities have students investigating more about the value and importance of play in a child’s development.

PA Standards

  • 11.4.12 C Analyze practices that optimize child development (e.g., stimulation, safe environment, nurturing caregivers, reading to children).


Day 1

  • Show the cartoon found in the lesson plan & PPT below and have students write a paragraph explaining what it means.  Discuss ideas.
  • Students then answer the question “Why do child need play?” using the first box on the “Think-Pair-Share-Compare” worksheet.  Then have them proceed by pairing up with another classmate to complete the second box (partner sharing).  For the third box students are sharing and discussing their ideas with the class.  Finally, students are using the article titled “Why Children Need Play” to complete the fourth and final box.


  • Projector & Screen
  • Laptops


Day 2-3

  • Show students the Play PPT  to refresh their memory of how play incorporates the PIES (areas of development) and have them take notes for later use.  Then assign the jigsaw activity “What Are Children Learning When They Play _______?” (insert the activity) by having them randomly select an activity from the provided list.  Students will use their notes and the internet to complete the visual presentation. Visuals will then be presented to the class for notes and used for follow up questions.  Criteria and guide sheet are included in the lesson plan below.

Day 4

  • View children speaking about the importance of play YouTube clip as a conclusion to above info and a prelude to
    the following project. (Notice many of the toys/activities the children are playing with.)
  • Summarize by sharing “It’s Not Just Play” with students before assigning the concluding project.
  • Assign students to concluding project called the “Top Ten Reasons to Encourage Play” mini poster incorporating all of their resources and information about play.  Orally present to the class and then display around the room for others to enjoy!



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