How Can Play Develop Kids’ Cognitive Skills?

While some see children at play as having harmless fun or idling in their blissful ignorance, behind the curtains there’s so much going on. You see, everything that your kids do, everything that they come in contact with leaves a mark on their young, developing mind. Play is a perfect example of how this work. Now, before you start worrying about the impact that this will have on your kids, you need to bear in mind that with the right attitude and approach, the side-effects of this may become predominantly positive. With that in mind and without further ado, here are five ways in which play can develop kids’ cognitive skills.

Intrinsic motivation

One of the best ways to facilitate learning is to be properly motivated. Now, one of the biggest flaws of a formal education model is the fact that it often creates a scenario where a person feels like they’re learning for the sake of… well, learning. However, what if your child wanted to learn for personal reasons? Learning through play is fun and, in a lot of scenarios, the more they learn, the more fun they have. This is because learning helps them discover new and interesting options. If the game in question is competitive, learning makes them win more often, which creates a positive reinforcement that is a huge plus.


Perhaps the most important thing about play is the fact that your kids will be free to do as they please. This means that they’ll be encouraged to become more self-reliant. Sure, there are a lot of instances where they turn to you for help (if something doesn’t match or fit) but most of the time, they’ll try to solve the problem on their own. From this alone, it’s quite obvious that learning through play helps a child develop their problem-solving skills. Out of all the skills out there, this one is probably the most crucial for their future success in any competitive field.


Regardless of what field we’re talking about, it’s always possible to gamify the learning experience. The simplest way of doing so is by introducing a point-based system or by figuring out a new approach to the old scenario. Keep in mind that language learning allows for a rich variety of wordplay, which can, on its own, be immensely fun. Still, when it comes to something as important and delicate as learning a language, experts in charge of an English learning centre usually have a wide variety of tricks up their sleeve.

Emphasis on creativity

The most important thing about the way in which the majority of children play is the fact that there are no rules. Sure, there’s a logical way in which a child could use a particular toy but anyone who has ever observed a child at play knows just how common it is for a child to find a completely unorthodox use for every single toy in their possession. This absence of rules encourages a child’s natural curiosity and creativity. The more time they spend doing this, the more efficient they’ll become in this field.

Variety of learning styles

In the end, it’s important that you keep in mind that there are seven or eight different types of intelligences, which is why different people prefer different learning styles. The traditional education model is usually based on visual methods, most commonly those that involve reading and writing. Through play, tutors are encouraged to put more emphasis on auditory and kinaesthetic learning styles. Other than appealing to those who prefer these learning styles, this variety also helps keep things more interesting for far longer.


Keep in mind, nonetheless, that not all play is as productive and beneficial as described above. There’s only so much that role-playing with dolls and board games can do for your kid’s education. This is why it’s important that you don’t neglect the formal education of your kids either. Fortunately, it’s not like you’re forced to choose between the two. This means that both you and your kid can get the best of both worlds.