Brain Development and Play

Categories: BrainPlay

Textbooks. Speeches. Blackboards. These were key elements used for education for many years. However, learning doesn’t have to be so rigid. Neuroscience has taught us of a learning method much more appropriate for children, known as play. The idea is that kids learn by engaging in actual activities. The reasoning behind this theory is that the act of play actually helps development of the brain. Children will gain much more by actively engaging in a project as apposed to just listening.

Having actual experiences will cause the brain to develop more, by strengthening synapses (Rushton, Rushton, & Larkin, 2010).

So how is one able apply play to help development for infants? An infant’s first stage of development involves sensorimotor skills. By having a child perform activities that use those skills, development can take place (Charlesworth, 2017 p.

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51). An example could be giving an infant a rattle to shake. A way to take it to a further level would be to have a child point to pictures of assorted animals and have him or her announce what they are.

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This will engage several senses and will help improve the sensorimotor area of the brain.

As a children get older, they develop more skills. Therefore, more complex activities should be applied to match their age. Different activities can build on different sections of the brain. To improve memory skills, students should engage in an activity using all senses. The same can be applied to solving problems and processing information. The brain will become more developed in those sections if they are used more (Charlesworth, 2017 p.51).

The idea of using play to develop the brain doesn’t only apply to children. Adults can also benefit with the use of play. Playing chess is a fantastic exercise for the brain. Doing a crossword puzzle is another great idea. One may even dare attempt to solve a Rubik’s cube. Ideas like these are excellent options for keeping our brains intact throughout our lives, until a ripe old age.

Using play as a way to learn is very beneficial. It is versatile, so it can be used in many different areas. It draws a lot of interest from children, because children like to play. Therefore, it is much better to use this method, as it will catch the attention of the student. By using play, students will definitely be more involved in the activities, and more eager to learn in an everyday setting. This will set a strong foundation that will build the necessary skills for them as they continue to grow and mature. So push aside those textbooks and bring in the blocks!


  1. Rushton, S., Juola-Rushton, A., & Larkin, E. (2010). Neuroscience, play, and early child education: Connections, implications and assessment.
  2. Early Childhood Education Journal, 37(5), 351-362.
  3. Charlesworth, C., (2017). Understanding child development tenth edition. Boston, MA. Cengage Learning. 51.

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Brain Development and Play. (2021, Oct 12). Retrieved from

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