The Importance of Play

Play is an essential part of our growth and development

Ashley Brown Headshot


Ashley Brown

OhioKAn Navigator, The Recovery Center

Ashley earned her Bachelor of Science in Organizational and Health Communication Studies at Ohio University. She is currently working towards her Master of Science in Yoga Therapy at Maryland University of Integrative Health; a program that is through the lens of trauma informed care and evidenced informed practices. Ashley is a 500-hour registered yoga teacher and is certified in trauma informed yoga. She previously worked as a Regional Studio Manager for multiple GoYoga studio locations in Columbus, Ohio. She is excited to serve her community in a fulfilling and meaningful way as an OhioKAN Navigator by transferring her skills from the for-profit business world to the non-profit social service world. Ashley is passionate about providing inclusive, engaging and genuine support for children, youth and their families.


With all the responsibilities, commitments, and stressors of caring for ourselves and our families, play can fall to the wayside. As kinship and adoptive families navigate their daily lives and routines it is important to ensure time and space for play! Play is an essential part of our growth and development no matter our age or life stage. Making play an important part of the family dynamic fuels creativity, imagination, problem-solving skills, and emotional well-being. Being fully present with loved ones while engaging in fun is a great way to cultivate deeper bonds and understanding.

Play can be as simple as smiling, laughing, and sharing jokes or as active as hiking and riding bikes. Play can be trying a new recipe and cooking together or creating artwork. Board games, tag, hide and seek, reading, singing, dancing, sports, and toys are other ways to get into the spirit of play! Play is a wonderful way to spend quality time with your family in an uplifting and joyful way. By giving yourself permission to play, you’ll lead by example, allowing the children in your life to fully express their authentic and silly selves.

Play is crucial for a child’s development and beneficial for anyone, regardless of age. Montana State University found that families who play together are more cooperative, supportive, and have better communication. A regular practice of play can promote more joyful, wholehearted living which helps to relieve stress and fosters deep connections to others and the world around you. Become aware of the many opportunities where play can be spontaneous and enjoyable.

Children’s book author Anita Wadley once wrote, “When you asked me what I did in school today and I say, ‘I just played.’ Please don’t misunderstand me. For you see, I am learning as I play. I am learning to enjoy and be successful in my work. Today I am a child and my work is play.” Play will also boost your child’s self-esteem, so let’s prioritize play and create some family fun!



The Importance of Play in Early Childhood Development (2010)


Learn More

For more information about how OhioKAN can help you, please explore our website or contact us directly.