The Great Play Deficit

Play is the natural way children learn and explore the world around them. Check out this great three minute video on the importance of play and policies that support it. This video was published on Nov 10, 2013 by the International Play Association. I just recently found it on YouTube and it makes me smile every time I hit that play button.

I can't possibly imagine a world without play and I certainly could not do what I do without the ability to play. I have seen firsthand the miracle and the connection between learning and playing. It is the foundation to our development and growth.  

Apparently, children have less free time today and are spending less time playing. An article by Peter Gray, Ph.D., Research Professor at the Department of Psychology at Boston College, cites a study which found that 6-8 year-olds compared to 1981, children in 1997 spent 25% less time in play. They also spent 55% less time conversing with others at home.

So what are they spending their time on?

School, schoolwork, and shopping! The same researchers found an 18% percent increase in time 6-8 year-olds spent in school, a 145% increase in time spent doing schoolwork at home, and a 168 % increase in time spent shopping with their parents. The study found children in 1997 spent only about eleven hours per week at play, including computer play.

So, carve out some time for your kids to just PLAY!!!!

Click Here for Peter Gray's full article.
Peter Gray. The decline of play and the rise of psychopathology in childhood and adolescence. American Journal of Play, 3, 443-463. 2011.