Comfort & Foot Health, Fitness & Outdoors, Fits Your Lifestyle, Kids & Family

The Importance of Play

Why is play important? It is essential to the development of children! It plays a formative role for children’s mental and physical development. The inclusion of play prepares children to be academically, socially and emotionally equipped for their future and the future of the world. 

Shaped by Play designates the following definitions for play: 

  1. Play is voluntary and intrinsically motivated: children play because they want to, not because of an externally imposed goal or demand
  2. Play is pleasurable: children enjoy engaging in play
  3. Play is process-oriented: the process of playing is more important than the end goal, and the activity does not serve an immediate practical purpose
  4. Play is actively engaged: children are mentally and/or physically immersed in the activity
  5. Play is non-literal: it involves make-believe

In short, play can be lots of different things! Play can involve others and it can be imaginative. It can be active or it can be fixed in place. The opportunity for play can be found in anything!

Play allows children to interact and engage with the world around them from a young age, building their creativity, imagination, physical and emotional strength.

Children find ways to play everywhere, whether it be in the home, backyard, at school, on the playground or at the park. 

For each activity, it is important that your child gets the right footwear with the right fit. If a child is playing without the correct footwear, their foot development could be negatively affected. The right footwear will make play more enjoyable and effortless for your child.

For example, when a child has the right footwear on the playground, they will have a lesser chance of getting injured as they climb ladders, jump and run around. Great support will also prevent foot and back problems which not only will allow them to play longer, but also develop motor skills because it won’t hurt them to climb the monkey bars or run around with friends.

Different activities require different fits.  Our fit specialists have the knowledge and expertise to find the right footwear for your child, whether it be running shoes for the playground or a sandal for the beach. Visit any of our stores or schedule an appointment to make sure your child is prepared for play by fitting them with the right footwear! 

Shaped by Play states that “Children’s early experiences and the settings they inhabit play a powerful role in shaping the adults they will become.” As adults in their lives, we can emphasize the importance of play in our children’s lives, giving them the space and places to do so.

Whether it’s at home, on the playground or at the lake this summer, we encourage you to reflect on and reinforce the role of play in your child’s life and make sure they are well-prepared with the right footwear for every type of play they love.

To understand more about how play affects numerous areas of your child’s life, we recommend reading through the Shaped by Play website and watching their informative videos. 

All information from Shaped by Play, a study done by Landscape Structures in Delano, MN in collaboration with the University of Minnesota, Playground Professionals and

The Importance of Play in Promoting Healthy Child Development and Maintaining Strong Parent-Child Bonds, a study done by Kenneth R. Ginsburg. 


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