Understanding the Real Value of Play
Kids love to play, and every child engages in play differently. Not only is it fun, but it helps children develop socially, emotionally, physically, and cognitively.
According to a new report published by a panel of parenting experts and educators for the Genius of Play, parents aren’t fully understanding the value of play in their children’s lives. The panel gave American parents and educators a C average in encouraging play.
Panelists highlighted four main reasons why play is being overlooked and what parents and teachers can do to fix these problems.
These days, children are participating in more extracurricular activities than ever before. Sports, tutoring, and music lessons are filling a child’s schedule and squeezing out time for play. Many parents mistakenly believe that taking children to a scheduled sports practice is the same thing as letting spontaneous play happen. Simply letting a child have free time to engage in play can help you understand things about your child and help your child understand things about themselves. Free play gives children the chance to explore, to think creatively, and to problem solve.
Through our constant stream of news, parents today are increasingly more worried about their children’s safety. According to the Genius of Play report, children today are safer than ever before. Giving children space to play independently will help their decision-making skills.
Increased Screen Time
With the increased prevalence of technology in today’s society, children are being exposed to televisions, tablets, and cell phones at a much earlier age. Experts say that this increased screen time can have both positive and negative effects on children. Although technology can have negative effects on sleep, attention, and learning, it can also expose children to new information. The panel suggests that parents allow children to engage in tech-based play, but that they guide the learning and set limitations.
Less Recess in Schools
The amount of time allotted for recess has diminished over the years and is being replaced by class time. However, studies show that kids, especially boys, had a much higher level of focus after recess and were less focused when they had to sit for long periods of time before recess.
To read the full report and get more awesome tips on play and its benefits, visit The Genius of Play website!
How Bubbles Help
We may be biased, but bubbles are a great activity for unstructured play! Bubbles create a sense of wonder and magic, and can lead to imaginative play. Want to be a dragon that shoots bubbles instead of fire? Or how about a fairy that is transported from world to world in tiny bubble globes? Burst out the bubbles and see how high your kid’s imagination flies!
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