Learning about self movement structures an individual’s knowledge of the world – it is a way of knowing, and we actually, through movement and play, think in motion. For example the play-driven movement of leaping upward is a lesson about gravity as well as one’s body. And it lights up the brain and fosters learning.
Innovation, flexibility, adaptability, resilience, have their roots in movement. The play driven pleasures associated with exploratory body movements, rhythmic early speech (moving vocal cords), locomotor and rotational activity – are done for their own sake; pleasurable, and intrinsically playful. They sculpt the brain, and ready the player for the unexpected and unusual.
Excerpted from National Institute for play: http://www.nifplay.org/states_play.html#_2
The original page has moved and is mostly represented on this page now: http://www.nifplay.org/science/pattern-play/
References cited on that webpage:
Ito, Masao, (1993) Movement and Thought Identical control mechanisms by the cerebellum. Trends in the neurosciences 16, 448-450
Sheets- Johnstone, Maxine, (1999) The Primacy of Movement, Johns-Benjamin Vol. 14, Advances in Consciousness Research
Forencich, Frank, (2001) Play as if Your Life Depended Upon It. ISBN: 0972335803