About Us > Children's Museums + Play > The Case for Play

The Case for Play

Play is often talked about as if it were a relief from serious learning. But for children, play is serious learning.
— Mr. Rogers, Children's Television Personality

CDM advocates unstructured play, which taps into children’s innate love of learning. Structured play opportunities, where adults utilize play to teach or practice specific skills, are common in Hong Kong. At CDM, children will initiate their own learning experience, while adults support them through meaningful questioning and safeguarding.

Decades of research demonstrate that play is critical to healthy child development. The right to play is so vital that it is recognized by the United Nations High Commission on Human Rights. Albert Einstein rightly noted that, “Play is the highest form of research”, when he observed that through play children learn about themselves, others, and their world.


Below are three of the numerous benefits that arise when children engage in unstructured play:

Fostering 21st Century Skills

Critical thinking, creativity, collaboration, and communication are skills vital to succeed in today’s competitive world.

Raising Independence

Leadership traits develop when children dictate their own goals and determine their associated rules in play. In so doing, children learn to take initiative, solve problems, and work together.

Nourishing Well-being

Through open-ended play, overall emotional health improves as children work through their feelings and expend excess energy.

CDM aims to uphold and support unstructured play learning through our exhibits and in our interactions with families.

Play is our brain’s favorite way of learning.
— Diane Ackerman, American poet and naturalist