Playing tag, building forts, crafting secret languages: some of life’s greatest treasures are your childhood friends! And it’s through play that kids learn how to create and maintain those friendships.
Cooperative play helps kids hone their social skills as they figure out how to negotiate group dynamics. It helps them learn how to collaborate and compromise with others, recognize and respond to others’ feelings, share, show affection, resolve conflicts, and adhere to the rules. In turn, these important early lessons help children understand the roles and rules of society!
Social skills are critical not just for forming relationships, but also for supporting academic success! A study found that the best predictor of academic performance in 8th grade was a child's social skills in 3rd grade. And, according to research, third graders who have 15+ minutes of recess a day are better-behaved in school than those who have less.
Learning how to be well-behaved — that’s the genius of play!
Stephanie Pappas, "The Top 5 Benefits of Play," LiveScience.com, 2011.