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The benefits of allowing children to play are limitless and each different play type offers unique cognitive and physical benefits to a child’s development and wellbeing. Free play, in which children generate their own games, without a predetermined set of rules or goals is especially important.

Spending time playing outdoors is an essential way to aid a child physical development. It enables them to practise their fine and gross motor skills, develop strength, flexibility as well as many other health advantages. It also has the cognitive benefit of promoting self-risk assessment, resilience, as well as self-esteem.

Play can provide a key outlet for children who have experienced trauma or mental distress. Through play they can re-experience and come to terms with it, enabling them to express their emotions better and gain a sense of control over their experiences.

The social advantages of play are numerous. Engaging in group play develops a child’s team-building skills, communication skills, problem-solving and negotiation skills. A diverse play setting allows children to integrate with other of different ages, and abilities meaning they have to learn to compromise, adhere to rules, recognise and respond to others feelings amongst other things.