11-14 yrs (middle school) 14-18 yrs (high school) 5-6 yrs (kindergarten) 6-8 yrs (primary) 9-11 yrs (elementary) Family Resources PreK 3-5 yrs (preschool)

The Importance of Play During Stress

Play is important for children (and adults!) of all ages.  Play helps children develop skills that prepare them for life.  When they play outdoor games, they are often working on their motor skills.  When they play make believe, they are enhancing their imagination and creativity.  When they play with construction sets and blocks, they are working on their problem solving skills and even emerging math skills.  But did you know that play is also important for our social and emotional health?  Engaging in play can reduce stress, allow children to work through difficult experiences, foster friendships, and increase happiness.  This is particularly important during stressful times such as the pandemic.  The International Play Association wrote a great article about the importance of play during times of crisis that talks about the benefits of play and gives parents helpful hints for how to play with their children during these difficult times.  Click here for the article: The Importance of Playing in Crisis.



Creative thinking 

Health & Wellness


Social-emotional learning

Grade Levels: Pre-K through High School

Age Levels: Choose from this list. Delete those that do NOT apply. 

  • Birth-36 months (infant/toddler)
  • Pre-K 3-5 yrs (preschool)
  • 5-6 yrs (kindergarten)
  • 6-8 yrs (primary)
  • 9-11 yrs (elementary)
  • 11-14 yrs (middle school)
  • 14-18 yrs (high school)


Karena Rush


Creative Commons License


Credit: on 10/28/2020

By Karena Rush

Hi Everyone! Welcome to our site! My name is Karena and I am a child clinical psychologist with a background in school psychology, education, and early childhood risk and prevention. I have worked in schools, hospitals, and community outreach settings with kids with all levels of abilities devoting most of my time to children with intellectual and developmental disabilities. One of my passions is helping parents and teachers identify fun activities that can help build developmental and academic skills (aka- learning while playing!!). In fact, I have had the opportunity to work with toy developers and companies from around the world in developing and identifying toys that enhance learning. Outside of work, I love to travel and spend time outdoors with my two daughters and husband. I am so excited that you are visiting our site and hope you find our activities as fun as we do!

- A.B. Psychology, Bryn Mawr College
- M.Ed. Early Childhood Risk and Prevention, Harvard University
- M.S. Psychology, Louisiana State University
- Ph.D. Psychology: Child Clinical, Louisiana State University
- Post-Doctoral Fellowship, Johns Hopkins School of Medicine, Kennedy Krieger Institute

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