“In the home, childhood has moved indoors as
television watching, computer game playing and
internet activities have increasingly replaced active
outdoor play such as bike riding and hide and
THE NEED FOR PLAY IS WELL DOCUMENTED
The Power of Play
Play, love and work are the three necessary
ingredients of a full, happy and productive life.
Psychiatrist Stuart Brown
Reviewed more than 6000 case histories to explore
a person’s play experiences over his or her life.
Association for Childhood Education
International and American Academy of
Pediatrics (Crisis in the Kindergarten: Why
Children Need to Play in School)
Demonstrates that when academics are substituted
for play in kindergarten, the long term results on
literacy and math are significantly worse not better.
“While many European countries have returned to
play based kindergartens, the United States has
WHAT RESEARCH TELL US ABOUT PLAY
The research about play clearly illustrates its has
beneficial effects on both social-emotional and
academic growth. Research also notes important
variations in play behavior related to specific
situations such as peer group and gender
interactions; block play; parent play; and clinical
PEER GROUP AND GENDER INTERACTIONS
A related study indicates that outdoor play is more
facilitative of complex peer interactions than is
indoor play. This effect is partly due to the absence
of major adult presence during outdoor play.
Emotional competence with peers
Peer play at home was a good indicator of social
adaptation to peers at a child care center.
A related study found that high levels of peer play at
the beginning of the school year predicted good
emotional regulation, initiative and self
determination and vocabulary skills at the end of
the school year.
More closely associated with that of
More stereotyped and less adult
Tend to create imaginary companions
that are alter egos, and that serve as
Seem to identify with their imaginary
companions and to impersonate them;
use as the culprits for their own
Playing with a child at a higher level
advanced the play of the child at the
Research investigation– facilitates logicomathematical
Case History– Mathematical thinking
Boys tend to play more with blocks than do girls.
And girls tend to do more poorly than boys on
math, at least initially. An interesting study of the
effects of block play would be a longitudinal one
that looked at block play by gender over time and
assessed children’s mathematical competence.
Providing parents and children with blocks and with
ways in which to play with them together can have
beneficial effects upon children’s language
development and potentially their cognitive
development as well.
PARENT CHILD PLAY
Parent involvement in children’s play has beneficial
effects in the children’s emotional knowledge and
peer social competence.
Apparently, secure attachment facilitates higher
level of play for fathers but higher levels of social
interaction and participation for mothers.
On a study, parents intuitively know how to support
the play of their children depending upon their level
of mental or sensory ability.
The quality of mother-child interaction may be
determined by the gender of the child as well as by
the security of attachment.
Cultural bias gives girls and women more flexibility
in exploring boys toys and play than is the reverse.
Adult interventions with children who have potential
language delays have a positive effect on the
children’s language skills.
Outdoor play has advantages over indoor play for
most children. But when home play is compared to
classroom play, home play seems to have the
Context does affect play but the range of possible
contexts has to be taken into account.
Children who preferred solitary play were
socially, emotionally and intellectually less mature
than peers who engage in social play.
Solitary play is thus a marker of potential social and
emotional problems at a later stage.
NEW INSIGHT INTO THE
DIFFERENT TYPES OF PLAY
Play and Work
PLAY AND WORK
Piaget argued that play was pure assimilation, the
transformation of reality in the service of the self.
Work, in contras, was accommodation, the
transformation of the self to meet the demands of
Play is the motivation for children’s work
Children’s play could be described as including
mastery, innovation, kinship and therapeutic
Kinship is a basic way in which young children learn
to deal with social relationships and skills.
Some play can be negative and hurtful
Play has the power to do good but also has the
power to do evil.
We have to acknowledge that imagination and
creativity are often used for evil purposes including
torture and innovative weaponry.
Books and position papers have also described the many
ways in which play has been being limited, overprogrammed and overscheduled.
Research studies reinforce the importance of selfinitiated play for social, emotional and intellectual
The real task is to make parents, educators and
legislators realize and support the importance of play for
The commercialization of childhood has pitted what is in
the best interest of economic gain. It is a battle we may
not be able to win, but it is one we cannot afford to lose.
HOPE FOR THE CHILDREN OF 2020
That we as a society will come to our
senses and stop the damage being
done to children and youth by our
schools, the media and
unscrupulous advertisers and
merchandisers to the young.
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