Free play has benefits for mind and body

The snow may be tempting, but if it’s just too cold for your kids to get out and play, don’t worry. Indoor play can be just as enriching, and as active.

“Using their imagination helps children develop their brain,” says Melissa King, DO, pediatrician at the Children’s Health Clinic at Dayton Children’s. “Children learn to think creatively, problem solve and develop reasoning and motor skills during free play.”

For younger kids, mom and dad may have to help at first, by suggesting ideas or leading the play. Little kids may love to have a dance party in the living room with mom or dad. Draw pictures or do a craft. Make shadow puppets with a flashlight and have them direct the action. Have your children pretend to be their favorite animals and act out their motions. “Parents who share this free play time with their kids are being supportive, nurturing and productive,” says Dr. King.

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