District Site

410 Central Ave. N.
New Prague, MN 56071

phone: 952-758-1700
fax: 952-758-1799


Tara Lund
Early Childhood Teacher
Community Education
Early Childhood Center
(952) 758-1673
Early Childhood


The Importance of Play

The Recipe for Play...

Play is Pleasurable.

Play is Intrinsically Motivated.

Play is a Process Oriented.

Play is Freely Chosen.

Play is Actively Engaged.

Play is Non-Literal.

Why Does Early Learning Focus on Play?

Play is the foundation for learning!  When children play they are creating connections in the brain, children naturally utilize creative thinking and imagination, and they sharpen current and emerging skills.  Play establishes a positive disposition to learn, results in better cognitive development, and supports underlying skills necessary for future success. The Children’s Museum of Minnesota has been a profound leader in researching and establishing environments that enrich learning through PLAY!  They concur that play sets the stage for creative innovation, critical thinking, collaboration, communication, knowledge of content and confidence. Besides all this we know children are genuinely happy when given the time to PLAY!


How Can Parents Help

Provide time everyday for unstructured play.  The amount of time children have to play has been declining steadily despite the evidence for how children learn.

Observe your child during play. Observation can help parents understand children’s play habits.

Set the stage for a variety of play experiences.  Provide materials such as cardboard boxes, tape, drawing supplies, blankets, and clothes pins.   

Offer suggestions for expanding play.  Parents can propose extensions to a play scenario.  The child is pretending to fly around the room after noticing a plane in the sky.  Parents may enrich this by offering ideas for building a plane with legos or setting up a pretend plane in the living room for dramatic play.  Children are free to follow or ignore the suggestions.

Join in the play! Parents can extend learning by modeling play skills, such as sharing, offering advance play scenarios, and assist in getting children started or maintaining play episodes.  Just don’t stay too long. Children need time to play on their own too!


PLAY is Learning!!!

Tara Lund, Early Learning Parent & Family Teacher 952-758-1762 or email tlund@isd721.org