Social & Behavioral Development

The social and behavioral development of a Kindergarten student is foundational to his/her ability to learn and achieve in school.

One of the very best ways you can help your child grow in this area is to PLAY with and along side of him/her. Through your play and modeling, you're teaching your child:

  • the rhythm of face to face communication

  • the necessity of empathy in relating to others

  • the art of conflict resolution

  • and the skill of sustained attention


These skills are often the best indicator of a child's readiness to learn in Kindergarten.

Early childhood experts agree that play is crucial for both social and academic development. Constructive play helps children develop social skills while laying an important foundation for reading and math. For example, when children pretend they're in a restaurant or store, they're learning how to:

  • take turns

  • speak clearly to one another and

  • make up their own stories — stories that are the foundation for writing.

Playing with blocks teaches children the basics of math as they learn that two small blocks put together have the same length as one long block. When children play in groups with a kitchen set or Legos, they're learning the delicate balance of leadership and compromise.

On the other hand, children who never learn to play well with one another — who rely on grown-ups or other sources to resolve disputes or entertain them — never learn the self-regulation and teamwork that is necessary for the rest of their lives.

For children, PLAY MATTERS!! It's their work and it's how kids are wired to learn! "Play is nature’s training for life."

A mix of active, imaginative and creative play makes for a balanced emotional and social diet. Some children prefer to spend most of their time with creative play, some with imaginative play and others with active play. There is nothing wrong in liking one toy or game in particular, but a balanced diet of play is best for development. In other words, it's good for your child to play in lots of different ways.

  • CREATIVE PLAY is about drawing, painting, playing music, cooking, or making something (anything!). It doesn't matter what your child makes, or whether there's a perfect result. Through creative play, your child expresses his- or herself, learns about process, discovers cause and effect and gains pride in their achievements.

  • Blocks.jpgIMAGINATIVE PLAY starts in your child's head. It can be role-playing, creating a new game, giving toys a voice, inventing adventures or playing a word game. Through imaginative play your child begins to understand the world, investigates fact and fiction, and develops positive relationships with themselves and other people.

  • ACTIVE PLAYis how your child moves in the world. It is running, jumping, catching and dancing -

    all of which build strength and boost coordination. Active play is also a great way to learn about teamwork, release tension and feel truly free.


Kindergarten sets the stage for a lifetime of learning. Raising an eager learner can be achieved easily through play and day-to-day activities.

Active play ideas

#1 Top 12 Kid's Outdoor Games

#2 Active Play Fact Sheet

Imaginative play ideas



Creative play ideas



Tips To Boost Your Child's Confidence Through Play

  • Give lots of praise when your child plays well.

  • Use age-appropriate toys that challenge your child's understanding.

  • Gently encourage your child to play with puzzle toys.

  • Aim for your child to increase learning in small stages by providing a variety of play opportunities

  • Let your child choose what toys to play with, most of the time.

  • Prove that you are interested by watching your child at play.

  • Be sympathetic when your child becomes frustrated in play.

  • Avoid comparing the way your child plays with the way another child plays.

  • Brag to your friends and relatives about your child's play achievements in front of them.

  • Give your child a cuddle sometimes during play.

  • HAVE FUN!!

Self Control

Common sense tells us that self control at an early age helps to determine a child's future success.


The Marshmallow Experiment

The original test

Commentary for parents

The adult version

Young children are naturally impulsive, but we can help raise their level of awareness about their body movements and how their lack of self control may impact others.

Well-structured dramatic/imaginative play may be one of the most effective ways to teach young children self control.

Tools of the Mind

When children have specific behavior needs, Social Stories are helpful.

More social story information

Social story sample

More samples