Play is Not Just Play: Benefits our Kids Get from Playing

When we randomly ask our kids what do they want to do, an automatic answer we will get is play. Because for them, play or playing is life! And play actually defines their meaning of fun.

As parents, we know that playing is not just about fun. We allow our kids to play not just because kids enjoy doing it but because there’s so much about playing that helps our kids develop their physical, emotional, intellectual and social skills.



Running.  Jumping. Climbing. Sliding. Laughing. Yelling. All of these involve physical movements. As our kids play, they develop their motor skills (fine and gross), balance and flexibility. Physical activities also make our kid’s muscles and bones stronger, thus, making them healthier and fit.



Through play, our kids develop their self-confidence and self-esteem. It is also through play that they experience different emotions.

Climbing a slide on their own and then sliding down victoriously makes our kids feel proud of themselves. Finishing a set of building blocks brings a feeling of fulfillment to our children. It makes them happy and confident to discover that they can do things on their own. Yes, simple plays like these easily enhance our kid’s positive emotions. On the other hand, these simple plays can also make our kid’s heart break into pieces. When they slip and fell on the ground, when their Lego crush after spending so much of their time building it or when another kid grab a toy that they also wanted to play with, a cloud of different emotions instantly emerges. Different emotions like sadness, disappointment or even anger come out suddenly when scenarios like these happen. Yet, it is also through these situations that our kids learn to handle their emotions no matter how young they are. And of course, we, as parents, are always there to guide them and help them understand their emotions rightly.



Playing alone or playing with other kids, playing at home or playing outdoors, it all enhances our kid’s intellectual skills in many ways. Mind games and outdoor plays help our kids learn to strategize on their own and solve different problems no matter how small it is. Playing with others enhances our kid’s communication skills. Playing alone and playing pretend put our kid’s creativity and imagination in a different level. It also enhances our kid’s independence.



Play greatly contribute to our kid’s social skills. Through this, our children learn to be cooperative, giving, loving and appreciative. They start to have friends and through this, they learn how to get along with others. They also start to notice their similarities and differences from others and make them gradually understand that each kid has different personalities.



The recent McDonald’s ad “Laging Mahal Ni Nanay At Tatay” brought me down memory lane. I remember how my husband and I struggled to give our daughter social security to the best that we can because she is different physically. Our daughter, Nicki, has infantile strawberry hemangioma.

Nicki is a normal kid but she has a strawberry patch (hemangioma) on her lower lip. Strawberry hemangioma is a kind of birthmark that is composed of collections of blood vessels which make the birthmark very red and raised from the skin. And since it is raised, the birthmark is very visible and noticeable. People who see her usually ask questions like “What happened to her lips?” or “Did she slip on the floor and hurt her lips?” We just politely answer them “it’s just birthmark.” The patch is really noticeable that even strangers ask us what happend to her. And it bothered us. Though Nicki’s hemangioma doesn’t have any health complications, the real problem or should I say worry that it give us are the threats it poses on the social well-being of our kid. The doctor said that having this birthmark may cause insecurities and low self-esteem to our daughter. Worst, she may get bullied by playmates and schoolmates when she enters school. But as parents, our role is to help our kids process every experience they encounter. Most especially the differences they come across with when they interact with other kids whether in school or at play. Our job as parents is to teach our kids to appreciate their own selves and value their uniqueness from others. We are here to help them understand that even though each kid is different, each one is important and loved.

The story of our daughter is not very dramatic but still not far from being considered as different. We started bumpy but I am glad to share with everyone that my husband and I have come to believe that we did well in this battle. Our Nicki has now grown to be a happy, active and confident kid. She tops in school, joins competitions and she has lots of friends. Yes, the birthmark is still there but with so much prayer, proper guidance, and a lot of love and assurance, the mark that lives in her now are all good and happy ones.


  1. Jen Ubongen says:

    Exactly my thoughts! I love how you put into words the advantages of play and how at times our kids will get hurt but as parents will always be there to support them.I can see that you have a very beautiful and amazing family. God bless 😉

  2. Michelle says:

    Oh, she has birthmark in the lip, too! My sister used to have that on her lower lip and we also often receive questions just like you guys are being asked. But now she’s an adult already, it’s not visible na. I think that goes away as time passes by. 🙂

  3. Meg Mortega says:

    Nicki is such a beautiful girl. I know she will grow up as a respected, smart, and kind woman. My daughter is 9 years old and still loves to play. She likes acting and story-telling as well 🙂

  4. EINz says:

    This is the first time that I heard this kind of birthmark, but its not that obvious in her latest pictures.

    Anyways, that TV ad reminds us to embrace indifferences and accept that we are unique in our own special way.

  5. Gilian says:

    Inspiring. Just remembered my son has a small birthmark on his right cheek. I got so used to it so maybe I rarely even notice it’s there. Some people who sees it think it’s a dirt. It’s a very light colored birthmark but is visible when you are close to him. He asked me before about it. I simply told him it was a birthmark and that everyone has it in different places. I told him to say the same thing when others ask him as well.

  6. Nini Perez says:

    She’s beautiful, mummy. 🙂 I’m not very restrictive of my son. My husband’s more of the “bawal yan – don’t touch that – get down from there” type of parent. But to me, it’s important to me that our son feels free. I’m the one who lets him roll, allows him to get dirty, let’s him climb stuff (with my supervision, of course) because I see him happy doing those things and I don’t want to take it from him. So sometimes, I give him a pen brush and paper for our art sessions and he ends up writing on himself, and I think that’s fine. There’s always soap and water to clean up after and I just can’t miss that artwork of his on his skin.

  7. Cris Evert Lato-Ruffolo says:

    I love it when my kids get dirty with mud. We have a very small frontage and I let them help me with gardening. I love it when they get dirty because thqt means they did something physically fun. The washing machine and detergent powder can take care of the dirty clothes. 😉

  8. Jhanis says:

    My husband complains about me complaining about the mess after the children’s playtime. But we let them go about their business because it is an important part of childhood. It’s how they learn at this stage. 🙂

  9. Ayi says:

    Play is an important part of a child’s daily routine, so I make sure that I make them play a lot. Magulo lang talaga, but the benefits are worth it 🙂

  10. Janice says:

    Oh my baby has a strawberry patch too! It’s on his pinky finger though and I was at first very worried about it because I didn’t understand what it was and it seems to get bigger as he grows too. The pedia assured us it’s nothing to worry about though unless it gets bumped or something, which might cause the blood vessel to burst.

    With regard to play though, I totally agree with your take on it. My other son is celebrating his 6th birthday soon and I was planning on having a special dinner out. My hubby said our son won’t appreciate that and would have a better time if we take him to his favorite play place instead with his friends. He’s right, of course. 🙂

  11. Ma.Me.Mi.Mommy says:

    Play is really beneficial for kids. It’s through it that they learn many things. It’s my first time to hear about a strawberry patch. It’s a good thing that you’re all able to overcome it with lots of love and care. 🙂

  12. Maria Teresa Figuerres says:

    Kids really get so many benefits from playing. I wish my son can play patintero, piko and tumbang preso like I did when I was young, but times are different now. If it were all up to me, I’d rather have him play with toys or with his friends and not with gadgets.

  13. May Palacpac says:

    I agree. A lot of newbie homeschooling families get into homeschooling bec they want to protect their children from the bullying and the harsh relationships outside the safe confines of the home, but that’s not how it should be. My kids are homeschooled but they are aware of all of these things- but we have the opportunity to process these things with them to teach them to respond better.

  14. jared's mum says:

    Parenting is challenging as it is, so I can only imagine how difficult it is to worry about something that might be a threat to your little one’s self-esteem and well-being. It is good, though, that the condition is not life-threatening or something.

    Judging from the look on your girl’s face, it is very evident that you did a great job at raising her to be self-assured and happy child. 🙂

  15. Macy Santos says:

    Mommy May I do believe that you are doing an excellent job as a parent to Nicki. In spite of her unique physical feature (which is really not a big of a deal) she was able to embrace her uniqueness because of your nurturing presence. Congratulations for raising such a wonderful child.

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