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Kids and their parents at the library Parents playing peek-a-boo A parent reading a book with a child Kid playing at the library

Play

a small boy playing with a toy For young children, play is the fundamental mode of learning. An infant's playful babbling teaches them to create all the sounds needed to speak their native language. A toddler learns that when you bang a metal spoon or a wooden spoon, you get two very different sounds.

When we appreciate the important role play serves in a child's learning about self and world, we give children the time and opportunity to engage in the self-initiated play that is the surest way for them to fully realize all of their intellectual, emotional and social potential.

Come play at the library! The vital importance of play in young children's development has been shown in study after study going back more than half a century. Yet many early childhood education programs have, in recent years, become increasingly focused on teaching academic skills. Consequently self-directed play opportunities are disappearing from our community landscape based on the unfortunate misconception that play is a frivolous use of time. Nothing could be further from the truth!

Libraries are beginning to change that landscape by adding self-initiated play opportunities, spaces that invite exploration, and programs that support families playing together – to the great delight of young children, their siblings and parents.

For more perspectives on the importance of play: Community Playthings Report: Wisdom of Play