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Thursday, February 16, 2012

Kids need Playtime

I am a firm believer in Playtime for kids. Now what does that mean, you ask? Well I define Play Time as unstructured play with other kids or by themselves. Unstructured Play is defined as play that is open ended without a purpose, in other words Playtime is not going to a dance class or an art lesson, or a soccer practice.
When I was a kid my mother would send me outside to “Go Play” My brothers and I were not the only kids in the neighborhood sent out side to play. Often there would be a whole cadre of kids. We would play together, neighborhood games of baseball, or capture the flag, tag that went across yards and through the woods, putting on plays- just for ourselves.
Why is Free Play Important?
According to Peter Gray evolutionary psychologist at Boston College, says that  unstructured play helps children learn how to get along with others and control their emotions, and it also lets them develop their imagination.
Gray says  “free play is a marvelous biological solution to the big problem that human beings have, which is that we are both selfish and social. We depend on cooperating with other people, and yet we are also looking out for number one. Children are constantly negotiating that balance in their play.”
But since the 1950s, , there’s been a steady decline in the time American children spend playing on their own. A study by the University of Maryland’s  which found that from 1981 to 1997, American kids ages six to eight spent 25 percent less time engaged in free play, this while their time in the classroom was up by 18 percent. Their homework time increased by 145 percent, while time spent shopping with parents was up by 168 percent. When Hofferth updated her research in 2003, free time continued to decline, while study time increased another 32 percent. Kids are busier than ever today with less time to play, often what FREE TIME they do have they spend in front of TV.
and yes that is my son in the dog crate playing, I don’t remember why he climbed in there but he was happy with that decision.
Tune in tomorrow to see how we can encourage our kids to have more playtime.

1 comment:

Erin said...

Totally agree with you 100%. With Gen X we are now seeing the results of this parenting and the like and it's not promising.

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