The Importance of Play

Play is more than just fun and games for children!   According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, play stimulates the imagination; helps expand dexterity; and helps develop physical, cognitive, and emotional strength.  It is through playing that children get to know the world around them, while building confidence.  Children also learn valuable lessons through playing such as sharing and conflict resolution.


Graph of Brain Development

Graph of Brain Development

How development works: Even before a child is born, all the nerve cells he will ever possess have been formed. These nerve cells are like a mass of unconnected electrical wires. From the time a child is born, the brain will constantly strive to connect the wires. But what makes the wires connect and what does the connection mean to a growing child? Every time an infant is held, read to or plays with a toy, these nerves make a connection. During the early years of life, these wires are connecting at an amazing pace, and once-in-a-lifetime windows of opportunity are opening to learn certain tasks. The multiple mediums of developmental exploration offered at Hands On! enable young children to “make more connections” during these incredibly important developmental years.  (Cited on

Hands On! believes in the importance of play and fosters an environment that welcomes children ages 1-10 to grow and learn through age appropriate fun. Our carefully thought-out gallery engages children in a variety of “hands on” activities, with exhibits such as:

  • Hands On! Community Co-op, where children are put in charge of the shopping. During the fun of collecting groceries, children add and subtract, plan nutritious meals, play at job roles and learn about family responsibilities, such as budgeting.
  • The Baby Place, which teaches social and emotional development skills while children take care of baby dolls.  Speech development occurs as they read books and listen to lullabies from around the world.
  • Creative Arts, including our music room that promotes concentration and memorization, our stage with dress-up clothing to stimulate the imagination and our art area where children are provided the tools to be the artist –with paint, chalk or tiles!

In a time when children’s free play is being drastically reduced in the academic realm, it is important to provide an outlet for children to learn, create, and explore.  Hands On! is proud to provide 12 exhibit areas in a space for children to play in a fun, safe “hands on” environment.



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