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5 Ways to Encourage Purposeful Play

I know what it’s like to be a stay at home mom; the days can get extremely long and tiring. As the hours pass and my creativity diminishes, turning on the television for my kids’ entertainment becomes quite an appealing option. However, I’ve noticed that the less screen time and the more playtime my children experience throughout the day, the happier and better behaved they become. Making a point to encourage purposeful play in your home is not only linked to higher intellect, but also provides a foundation for a lifetime of learning.

I received compensation in exchange for this post. All opinions are my own. 

5 Ways to Encourage Purposeful Play

purposeful play

1. Ask questions. Allow your child to think for themselves during playtime by asking open ended questions such as “What do you think about…” and “How should we….”

2. Allow your kids to express their creativity. Provide your children with opportunities to express their creativity. Set out some cans of play-doh, kitchen utensils, and cookie cutters and see what they create. Give them a cardboard box and a set of crayons and see where their imagination takes them. Lay out the costumes and see who they choose to become. Pretend play with a child 8-17 months is linked to higher intellect at age 5.


3. Limit screen time. Explain to your child the difference between screen time and play time. Set a timer for their allotted amount of screen time and once it’s up, they know it is now time to play. Even 10 minutes of playtime can improve a child’s performance as well as help them better control their behavior.

4. Allow your kids to experience all kinds of play. Although it’s important to play with your children every day, it is equally as important that they experience independent play and playing with other children.

play with others

5. Play with toys. It is shown that children who are able to play with a variety of different toys often reach higher levels of intellectual achievement.

play with toys

Because Toys”R”Us and Save the Children (a nonprofit organization committed to ensuring all U.S. children have a healthy start) understand the importance of purposeful play, they are joining forces to provide some of the 15.5 million impoverished US youth with resources to encourage purposeful play. Their fundraising and awareness campaign Play With a Purpose is committed to ensuring that US children have a healthy, safe, and educated start to life.

Have you seen the importance of purposeful play in your own home? Why not help children in need integrate that same play into their everyday lives? From February 17 – April 17, customers can make donations at any Toys”R”Us or Babies”R”Us store or online at to help children in need learn through purposeful play. Donations will go to support Save the Children’s early childhood development programs, which help children in some of America’s most impoverished areas thrive.

Help spread the word and share this Save the Children campaign video using #PlayWithPurpose and tagging @Toysrus.

How do you encourage purposeful play in your home?

Autumn Reo

Saturday 20th of February 2016

I read a study the other day about the decrease in play correlates to the increase in depression disorders. Playing is the most important thing a child can do!

Amy Desrosiers

Saturday 20th of February 2016

My kids love the whole box deal! I swear, they could play with a box all day if I let them!


Saturday 20th of February 2016

These are all great ways to play, my children are older now ages 13, 7 and 9 but I am still found playing in ways that educate them and teach them skills. My middle child has autism so often I can be found working on his fine motor skills, that are not so strong, when we play!


Saturday 20th of February 2016

It's so important for kids to play creatively! Developing an imagination is such an important part of growing up!


Friday 19th of February 2016

Great post. It's so important for kids to have fun and enjoy play. I love the tip about less screen time.

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