Sigmund Freud reportedly was once asked what make for a healthy mental life, and answered, “lieben und arbeiten,” to love and to work. In his book “The Power of Play” David Elkind argues that he should have included “spielen” … to play. As the developmental psychologist Jean Piaget said, “Play is the answer to the question, ‘How does anything new ever come about.'”
All children play. If toys are not available to children in primitive cultures or in areas of poverty, they will utilize whatever items are available. Imagination animates sticks, old cans, blocks of wood, and discarded cooking utensils. Dolls, toy animals, and imaginary playmates develop lives of their own. Children re-create the world and manipulate it in play, stimulating neurological development and creating the inner space which we call the mind and which will be used to understand the external world and plan for the future.