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Call Us: 240-385-5480  /   www.discovery@hotmail.com   /  POOLESVILLE, MD  20837

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Sourced from thegeniusofplay.org

Active Play

Active play is critical for kids’ physical development. It helps children hone their coordination, balance, gross-motor skills (large movements like crawling and walking) and fine-motor skills (smaller movements like picking objects up).

There’s tons of research about the health benefits of living an active lifestyle, and the same is true for our children. Research has shown that physically active kids tend to be leaner and healthier, while an inactive childhood can lead to a sedentary lifestyle in adulthood.

Plus, physical play helps children use up their natural stores of energy (a must!), and promotes better eating and sleeping habits.

Encouraging healthy habits that your child can carry through to adulthood? 


 Self-directed play gives kids the opportunity to hone their decision-making skills. Selecting a game, focusing on that activity, and seeing it through to the end, is an important element of cognitive control, and helps sharpen their planning skills and attention spans.

And when children are faced with a problem during play, it tests their reasoning and judgment, and their ability to find a solution. Brain-teasers, puzzles and strategy-based games help reinforce critical thinking skills.


It’s children's way of creating imaginary worlds, characters and plots that match their emotional state, helping them learn to express and regulate their feelings. Through play, kids learn to cope with their emotions as they act out fear, frustration, anger and aggression in a situation they control. It’s also a chance for them to practice empathy and understanding.

Plus, by giving kids a sense of accomplishment and satisfaction, play can help build kids’ confidence and self-perception.


Play gives kids a chance to truly let their imaginations run wild and create worlds of their own that they have control over. Whether it’s a make-believe game or an arts & crafts activity, play provides children the freedom to explore new possibilities and think outside the box … to come up with unique ideas as well as creative solutions to challenges they face.

An active imagination will continue to serve kids throughout their lives. According to a recent survey of more than 1,500 Chief Executive Officers from 33 industries around the world, CEOs believe that successfully navigating an increasingly complex world will require creativity more than any other skill.


Cooperative play helps kids hone their social skills as they figure out how to negotiate group dynamics. It helps them learn how to collaborate and compromise with others, recognize and respond to others’ feelings, share, show affection, resolve conflicts, and adhere to the rules. In turn, these important early lessons help children understand the roles and rules of society!

Social skills are critical not just for forming relationships, but also for supporting academic success! A study found that the best predictor of academic performance in 8th grade was a child's social skills in 3rd grade. And, according to research, third graders who have 15+ minutes of recess a day are better-behaved in school than those who have less.


By playing with others, children learn the art of communication. They come to recognize facial expressions and body language. They figure out how to strike up and carry on conversations, and how to express their thoughts and desires in a way that won’t cause problems and put a stop to the group game.

Pretend play is especially important for children’s communication development and literacy. The idea that a letter represents a sound is based on symbolism — a concept kids come to understand when they pretend that a cardboard box is a castle, or that a shoe is a race car. Role-play also gives children a chance to use words they’ve heard adults and other kids use, and helps improve their vocabulary. As they grow older, word-based games help reinforce language and literacy skills.

"As a parent, I really can't stress enough how important the freedom to figure things out benefited my kids. I saw other kids entering traditional kindergarten who were sweet and intelligent and might have read at a higher level the first month of school or so, but when something challenged them they froze. There was a difference of approach to an obstacle that the kids from Discovery didn't have. The Discovery kids just would look at the challenge, maybe from different directions/perspectives (sometimes actually physically circling it) and then either try to tackle it themselves or work with another to figure out how to best work through the challenge. It's like the challenge/obstacle was just part of life instead of a thing that froze them." -Molly parent of twin alumni (attended from 2-5 years old) 

 "I can’t overstate how fortunate we are to have this amazing program in our little town. Play-based learning is scientifically and experientially-based. All you have to do is observe these kids playing together for a couple of minutes and you see that they learn counting, math, cooperation, science, reading, writing, art by allowing them creativity and space to grow and learn on their own. Both of our boys are dramatically different; the first is more sensitive, likes to tinker and the second hasn’t walked anywhere in his life.  Both have thrived, learned cooperative play, hit all their developmental marks, can count and read and write beyond age level and my oldest just made a seamless transition to MES kindergarten. They truly have a sense of community from a young age and the Discovery ELC families are actually family. I could go on and on, but I will cap it to say that your family will count your lucky stars to be a part of this program. It’s truly unparalleled." Christina Mom of graduate and current child 

"I cannot speak highly enough about Discovery!!! The redhead grinning child in the picture is my youngest and the 3rd child we have sent there. They have promoted his growth in every aspect of his development while letting him move at his own pace. Just in the short time he's been there, his speech has exploded so much that his speech therapist is beyond impressed! Every teacher at Discovery loves their jobs and the kids and make all of us feel like family. If you are looking for a place to send your kids where they will come home happy and fulfilled, look no further! My kindergarteners still ask to go back to Discovery". Heather Mom of two alumni and one current child