Child Development

Watch them learn and grow before your eyes

The Benefits of Creative Play

Every child is born with creative potential. Their creativity is what makes them unique. It's their way of saying "I can be; I can do anything." At the heart of Creative Play is a child’s ability to see things in a new light, things that no one else sees but them.

Their need to play is essential for their physical health and psychological development. From the earliest age, playing helps children to learn, to relate to other people and to have fun.

The more children play, the better they get at it and the more creative they can become. It’s in the experience of playing, learning and discovering, structured or not, where their creative potential truly grows.

Child Development Tip of the Month

Children need lots of time to see what happens when they do different things with new materials, to test their own ideas and to get messy! The experience of manipulating materials according to their own ideas enables them to actually make and change the world.

Each new material may need a little explanation so that children can see how to use it to the best advantage. Give simple directions on how to get started, without limiting the creative use of materials. Most of the time, children can figure out what to do with materials by themselves. Children watch each other and get lots of new ideas.

Adapted from Essentials for Child Development Associates Working with Young Children; Carol Brunson Phillips, Editor.

Development Skills*
Fine Motor Skills Fine Motor
Visual/Spatial Skills Visual/Spatial
Cognitive Skills Cognitive
Social/Emotional Skills Social/Emotional
Virtue Skills Virtue
*Source: Cook Children's View the glossary for more detail
Glossary of Terms
Fine Motor Fine Motor
Fine motor skills coordinate the eyes, fingers and brain to help manipulate objects. These skills are primary in development and are used in grooming, writing, eating and keyboarding. Accuracy and speed in fine motor skills develop as children mature.
Visual/Spatial Visual/Spatial
Visual/spatial skills help children learn to internalize what they see in the world. They are used in constructional tasks, map reading, navigating the world and geometry. Visual/spatial skills are used in judging distances, locations and dimensions in space.
Cognitive Cognitive
Cognitive skills are global thinking skills. They include sequencing, learning to follow directions, academic skills, creativity and cause-effect analyses. Cognitive skills also include attention, memory and the learning of new information.
Social/Emotional Social/Emotional
Social/emotional skills combine what we learn about ourselves and the world with what we perceive or infer about the world and others. These skills form the foundation for how we behave and how we identify ourselves. Leadership, self-esteem and cooperation are also social/emotional skills.
Virtue Virtue
Virtues are morals, beliefs and values that are developed through connections with others and to a community or family. Empathy, giving, citizenship and diversity acceptance are all virtues. Children develop values and virtues primarily by being able to empathize with others and appreciating situations from other people’s perspectives.