There has been plenty of hand-wringing in recent years about the “overscheduled child.” With after-school hours increasingly dominated by piano lessons, soccer practice, and countless other planned activities, many of us have a nagging sense that kids are missing out on something important if they have no time for unstructured play.
The University of British Columbia - June 7, 2015
New research from UBC and the Child & Family Research Institute at BC Children’s Hospital shows that risky outdoor play is not only good for children’s health but also encourages creativity, social skills and resilience.
The findings, published in the International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, found that children who participated in physical activity such as climbing and jumping, rough and tumble play and exploring alone, displayed greater physical and social health.
OISE - Jenny Hall
When the kids in a kindergarten class that OISE professor Angela Pyle was observing recently decided to set up a bank, she paid close attention. The idea came from a combination of things: The teacher had been teaching the group directly about money, and the mother of one of the students had recently started working at a bank. After some discussion with the teacher, the kids launched “The Money Bank.” The teacher asked the children what resources they needed and, after providing them, stepped away.
“The children started making signs,” says Pyle. “They posted the hours of operation. They made name tags. One of the kids made a chart listing the different coins and their value for kids who didn’t know.”
For the typical American kindergartner, unstructured free play during the school day consists of 20 to 30 minutes of recess, and perhaps some time at indoor “stations” — perhaps creating with building blocks, costumes, or musical instruments. But what if there was more? What if the answer to “what did you do in school today?” was, “I climbed a tree, played in the mud, built a fire”?
That is exactly the kind of learning going on in the Swiss Waldkindergartens, or forest kindergartens, where children ages four to seven spend all of their school days playing outdoors, no matter the weather. With no explicit math or literacy taught until first grade, the Swiss have no set goals for kindergartners beyond a few measurements, like using scissors and writing one’s own name. They instead have chosen to focus on the social interaction and emotional well-being found in free play.
We are in the process of making a giant mistake on behalf of our children. With all the right intentions, American parents are depriving their kids of the time and space to develop their imaginations, and the ability to make something out of nothing—the very heart of innovation and competitiveness. A new study by Radio Flyer and ReD Associates shows the alarming consequences of over-parenting. With the holiday season upon us, parents face a familiar dilemma: which toys will capture our kids’ imaginations, stoke their interests, and keep them endlessly entertained? Think twice before you put that box of wooden blocks in your shopping cart.
Play Wales, November 2014
Much has been written about play. It is generally agreed that it is one of the most complex activities we engage in. In this information sheet we endeavour to draw together the most widely respected statements on play to provide a rounded and comprehensive analysis.
In the last generation, adults have been consumed with protecting kids against all odds.
But now, some child injury prevention experts are warning too much bubble wrap may be thwarting healthy development. Toronto Star - July 29, 2014Read more
German psychologists find people who were allowed to play freely as children have greater social success as adults.