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Let's play!

Reading, story telling, singing, providing good nutrition: all of these are important practices but what about play? Play is central to development - play with parents as well as alone play. How to create space for play?

Photo of Anne-Laure Fayard
9 17

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Reading Alex's interviews I noticed that play was mentioned by several mothers as a sign of growth and development. It reminded me a post by Arjan in another challenge where he shared an article by an evolutionary psychologist Gray who was criticizing the lack of play in today's American society and shows its negative impact on children's development. Gray says:
When they play, these students learn to read, calculate, and use computers with the same playful passion with which hunter-gatherer kids learn to hunt and gather. They don’t necessarily think of themselves as learning. They think of themselves as just playing, or ‘doing things’, but in the process they are learning.

Even more important than specific skills are the attitudes that they learn. They learn to take responsibility for themselves and their community, and they learn that life is fun, even (maybe especially) when it involves doing things that are difficult.


Alison Gopnik, a cognitive psychologist whose work I presented in another post also highlights the importance of play in cognitive development:
http://www.nytimes.com/2013/04/23/science/zeal-for-play-may-have-propelled-human-evolution.html?pagewanted=all&_r=0
http://www.naeyc.org/files/tyc/file/TYC_V3N2_Gopnik.pdf


Play includes pretend but also out door play and physical activity. It also includes the importance of social interactions developed in play and she also notes that play does not necessarily requires expensive resources, but more a free space and some grown up support (whether in playing with, or simply allowing room for play).

Check also:  http://www.naeyc.org/play

Questions for us to keep in mind:
  • If children are deprived of play time in developed countries like the US, what is the situation in low-income communities?
  • Per Rafael's post, what happens in context of time deprivation? 
  • How can we create opportunities for children to play - alone, with peers and possibly with their parents or other family members?

 

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Photo of Thi Mui Nguyen

Inspiring post Anne-Laure! I found a very interesting article, written by a bio-psychologist. He mentions very interesting points, from a biology perspective. Please have a look at:

http://www.independent.co.uk/voices/comment/give-childhood-back-to-children-if-we-want-our-offspring-to-have-happy-productive-and-moral-lives-we-must-allow-more-time-for-play-not-less-are-you-listening-gove-9054433.html

Photo of Anne-Laure Fayard

Thanks Thi Mui for sharing this article by Peter Gray, whom I also referred to in my post. -)

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