1. Playtime is more than just a chance for kids to have fun. It’s also instrumental in their development. Play improves memory and stimulates growth of the cerebral cortex... Graphic-bee / Getty Images That’s the part of your kid’s brain that’s responsible for memory, attention, perception, language, cognition, consciousness, and a bunch of other really important stuff. 2. ...and it helps your child develop empathy and compassion for others. Kankhem / Getty Images When your kid pretends to be a princess, a race car driver, or a pirate, they’re training themselves to see the world from a different perspective, which can help them empathize with other real people in their lives. 3. Playing with others develops social skills, language, and communication. Graphic-bee / Getty Images When kids play with other kids, they have to communicate actions, ideas, and intentions. Even without using language, they’re still fortifying their communication skills. 4. Playtime is all about creative problem-solving. Mattel Whether they’re building a race car track, stacking blocks, or trying to fit a doll into a stroller, a kid at play is constantly developing the skills to solve problems and bring their thoughts and ideas to life. 5. When they’re playing, kids can practice adult roles and decision-making without any real consequences... Kankhem / Getty Images Have you noticed that your kid sometimes pretends to be Mommy, Daddy, or Teacher? Kids use play to put themselves into adult roles without any of the pesky consequences of actually being an adult. 6. ...and confront their fears in a world they can master and control. Malchev / Getty Images Everyone’s afraid of something, and kids are no exception. But when they’re playing, kids can imagine their fears and conquer them in a world where they make the rules. Plus, they can experiment with emotions, which helps them develop the self-confidence to tackle challenges in the real world. 7. Undirected play teaches kids to create and enforce rules and ethics. Graphic-bee / Getty Images When play is directed by adults, kids will usually conform to their rules. But when adults aren’t engaged in playtime, children will create and enforce ethics and moral standards in their imaginary world, which helps them become better people later in life. 8. Play also leads to better behavior! Artbesouro / Getty Images Why is there recess in school? Because studies have shown that kids who get play breaks are more attentive and perform better on cognitive and academic tests than those without play breaks. 9. It also promotes physical development... Graphic-bee / Getty Images Climbing on the jungle gym develops muscles. Skipping and running develops balance. Stacking blocks develops your kid’s dexterity and hand-eye coordination. For kids, play is an exercise of the mind and the body. 10. ...and even teaches kids about the basic laws of physics! Mattel Through play, kids become more familiar with the physical laws that dictate the world around them, like weight and density, balance, quantities, momentum, friction, and even gravity! Play is an important part of your child's development, so pick up some Hot Wheels cars, tracks or playsets and help your kid grow into an awesome person!