All children begin playing very early in life. When infants pick up objects and shakes them up and down, bang them on the table, or rolls them around in their hands, they are playing.

Play develops over time, from very simple to more complex forms of play. Later play skills build on earlier ones. Infants’ early attempts to manipulate objects help them develop problem-solving and motor skills that will enable them, over time, to learn how to fit puzzle pieces together.

Many adults think of play as something children do to fill time between important activities. Actually, play is one of the most important ways young children learn about the world. Through play, children explore the world, learn valuable information, and build networks of connections in the brain.