Big Body Play

Active Play Improves Children’s Development
by Frances M. Carlson

Frances Carlson serves as Associate Dean of Public & Professional Services & Digital Media Technologies at Chattahoochee Technical College who has over two decades of experience as an early childhood program administrator with organizations in Oklahoma, Italy, and the metro Atlanta area. Her work includes two books published through NAEYC, as well as a number of articles that have been featured in a number of leading ECE publications.

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“There is a known connection between the development of movement and the development of cognition.”

Preparing for the future

“That is, big body play may help prepare children for the complex social aspects of what has been, evolutionarily speaking, adult life.”

Importance of play

“Play results in wonderful benefits across physical, social-emotional, and cognitive domains.”

Narrative Development

“The practice of developing narratives to go along with the play is an important bridge to later involvement in sports and other socially competitive activities that are language based.”

Self awareness

“Through big body play, children in the preschool years and beyond become more aware of their own physical abilities: how strong they are, how fast they are, how heavy they are.”

Healthy Peer Interaction

“Most successful play experiences, like successful relationships, are successful because both partners know how to wait, how to give and take, and how to listen as well as talk. In big body play, children have opportunities to practice and begin to master these skills.”

Sense of empathy

“Once very young children are aware of how movement affects their own bodies, they are then able to develop a sense of how their movements can affect others.”

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