Early Childhood Development & Play

Play is the universal right and language of childhood. It is through play that children learn, make friends, communicate, stay active, problem-solve, and make sense of the world around them. Families Canada has a long history of helping family support centres, practitioners, and families facilitate healthy child development through play.

What is play and why is it important?

Play is learning. It is essential to childhood and healthy child development. Play is often called the ‘work’ of children.

As defined by the Playwork Principles Scrutiny Group, Cardiff 2005:

  • “All children and young people need to play. The impulse to play is innate. Play is a biological, psychological and social necessity, and is fundamental to the healthy development and well being of individuals and communities”
  • “Play is a process that is freely chosen, personally directed and intrinsically motivated. That is, children and young people determine and control the content and intent of their play, by following their own instincts, ideas and interests, in their own way for their own reasons.”

What we’re doing

We create resources for families to encourage them to support their children’s need to play. These resources can be found in our online store, including our popular Why Play resources that families love!

We support family support practitioners by creating resources based on the latest science behind play to help them promote play in their everyday work with families.

These resources include a variety of publications and downloads in our store, including our Play magazine. We’re always developing new resources and embracing new formats and are pleased to now also offer an online course called Essential Play in French and English.

We work with internationally recognized experts in play to develop our resources to ensure they reflect current best practices and the latest science.

Join Us on this Journey!

Your contributions support the creation of outstanding and meaningful resources to hundreds of thousands of families across Canada. Help us create a brighter future, today!