“Play develops the foundation of intellectual, social, physical, and emotional skills necessary for success in school and in life. It “paves the way for learning.” Block building, sand and water play lay the foundation for logical mathematical thinking, scientific reasoning, and cognitive problem
solving. Rough-and-tumble play develops social and emotional self-regulation and may be particularly important in the development of social competence in boys. Play fosters creativity and flexibility in thinking. There is no right or wrong way to do things; there are many possibilities in play – a chair can be a car or a boat, a house or a bed.
Pretend play fosters communication, developing conversational skills, turn taking, and perspective taking, and the skills of social problem solving – persuading, negotiating, compromising, and cooperating. It requires complex communication skills: children must be able to communicate and understand the message, “this is play.” As they develop skill in pretend play, children begin to converse on many levels at once, becoming actors, directors, narrators, and audience, slipping in and out of multiple roles easily.”
– P.J. Hewes