A new report from the American Academy of Pediatrics finds that play with parents and peers is a critical part of healthy development, fundamental for learning life skills, and important for reducing stress.
Study Author Dr. Michael Yogman says, “Play is really brain building because it has all kinds of effects on brain structure and function, executive function skills, learning to persist on a task, learning to solve problems, of learning to be flexible about how they are learning things. It’s how we learn, not what we learn.”
The report shows that playtime has decreased significantly in the past 15 years, while screen time has increased. And, about 30 percent of kindergarten children don’t go out for recess.
“There is a whole section of our report that talks about the importance of play in preschool settings and how important it is to find a balance of playful learning with the more traditional curriculum,” adds Dr. Yogman.
Researchers say there are many things parents can do to encourage play. They recommend getting kids outside more to explore nature as well as introducing them to music and dance and art.