How play helps your child develop Playing makes a crucial contribution to your child’s development – physical, mental, emotional and social. Play and physical activity When they play, children are likely to be physically active – running, jumping, dancing, climbing, digging, lifting, pushing and pulling. Play and learning When they play, children solve problems, learn new words and explore how things work. Play and socialising When they play, children make friends, argue and make friends again, and learn to share. Play and creativity When they play, children test things, make things, use their imagination, and express themselves. Play and feelings When they play, children express themselves. They often feel happy, and they come to terms with different experiences. This helps children feel less stressed.