Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Effort to Restore Children’s Play Gains Momentum

Last but not least, an article about an effort to increase children's play time (which I'm all in favor of, as long as that time is taken from the 7 ½ hours/day that the average kid is in front of a screen of some sort):

Too little playtime may seem to rank far down on the list of society's worries, but the scientists, psychologists, educators and others who are part of the play movement say that most of the social and intellectual skills one needs to succeed in life and work are first developed through childhood play. Children learn to control their impulses through games like Simon Says, play advocates believe, and they learn to solve problems, negotiate, think creatively and work as a team when they dig together in a sandbox or build a fort with sofa cushions. (The experts define play as a game or activity initiated and directed by children. So video games don't count, they say, except perhaps ones that involve creating something, and neither, really, do the many educational toys that do things like sing the A B C's with the push of a button.)

Much of the movement has focused on the educational value of play, and efforts to restore recess and unstructured playtime to early childhood and elementary school curriculums. But advocates are now starting to reach out to parents, recognizing that for the movement to succeed, parental attitudes must evolve as well — starting with a willingness to tolerate a little more unpredictability in children's schedules and a little less structure at home. Building that fort, for example, probably involves disassembling the sofa and emptying the linen closet. (A sheet makes an excellent roof.)


Effort to Restore Children's Play Gains Momentum

ith Benjamin, 6, and Laura, 3) of Stroudsburg, Pa., says, "There's no imaginative play anymore, no pretend."
Published: January 5, 2011


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