Did you know?
The AAP (American Academy of Pediatrics) recommends that kids engage in open-ended play for at least 60 minutes every day. Regardless, playtime has been shrinking: kids often spend more time in front of screens and routinely spend much less time playing outside than experts recommend.
In case the benefits of active play aren’t obvious, consider this:
-The most rapid period of a child’s brain development occurs from birth to the age of three. Using play to explore objects and physical spaces helps stimulate brain development by allowing kids to process new sights and sounds. Furthermore, when kids are faced with a novel problem during play, their reasoning and judgment, as well as their ability to discover a solution, is put to the test.
-Play is also an especially important component of children’s development of communication and literacy skills. Listening, observing, and noticing subtle clues in the process of play helps improve their communication and vocabulary.
-Creative and open-ended play encourages kids to explore new possibilities and think outside the box. Most CEO’s name innovation and creativity as the most important skill set for successfully running companies and navigating an increasingly challenging business environment.
-Play provides kids with an emotional outlet through which they can express and process their feelings – not to mention that is helps them achieve a sense of accomplishment and satisfaction, building their overall confidence as well as self perception.
-From a toddler crawling toward his favorite toy to a teenager playing team sports, play helps with physical skills such as coordination, balance, and both gross and fine motor skills. Kids that are physically active grow up to be leaner and healthier (and an inactive childhood is the most accurate predictor of a sedentary lifestyle in adulthood).
-Play even develops social skills – both parallel and cooperative play create and maintain early friendships and teach group dynamics. Multi-player games and team sports and activities are some of the best ways to foster these formative social interactions.
As Albert Einstein once said, “Combinatory play seems to be the essential feature in productive thought.”