Play is important for children since it helps them explore the world and strengthen their creative thinking in a way that textbooks and structured lessons cannot. Unfortunately, many kids today lack the opportunities to get the kind of creative playtime that is so essential for emotional and cognitive growth.
Decades of research has proven that free, unstructured play is a crucial foundation for developing creativity, intellect and emotional and social skills, yet–alarmingly–play is on the decline. Due to rigid testing standards and busy learning schedules, too many children are losing out on valuable playtime. Development experts, such as David Elkind, say children suffer due to lack of unstructured fun. What’s more, research reveals that free, open play is on the decline.
• Since the late 1970s, children have lost 12 hours per week in free time, including a 25 percent drop in play and a 50 percent drop in unstructured outdoor activities. At the same time, the amount of homework increased dramatically (Source: University of Michigan’s Survey Research Center)
• Kids spend five weeks more in school than 50 years ago and have lost a month of free play time to academics since the 1960s (Source: American Journal of Play)
This is very unsettling noting that play is good for kids. Without free play, studies have proven that creativity deceases in all grade level and important social, emotional, and cognitive developmental milestones are hindered as are the abilities to manage stress and become resilient. Essentially, playtime teaches kids how to make decisions, problem-solve, exert self-control, follow rules, regulate emotions and develop and maintain peer relationships. Without playtime, children suffer in innumerable ways.
Luckily, it is fairly easy to embrace play as long as parents make sure that “down time” is implement that will give children the opportunity to explore this side of life.
Toca Boca, a play studio that makes digital toys for kids, is one of the strongest believers in “open ended” play, which has guided all of the company’s wildly-popular apps. Just recently, Toca Boca Magazine launched a program titled “31 Days of Play” where “play experts” shared a new idea for creative play – fun and easy activities for parents and kids to do together — for every day of the month.
If you are looking for projects to take on with your little ones, it is certainly worth checking out the website–including the “Card Doll Project” on Day 22 submitted by this Examiner. Other projects include:
• Day 2 “Make Your Own Play Doh”:
• Day 11 “Abstract Pizza”
• Day 15 “Toilet Paper Roll Art”
• Day 16 “Home for a Mythical Creature”
• Day 21 “Maze Design”
• Day 23 “Monsters”
• Day 29 “DIY Light”
To learn more about “31 Days of Play” visit the official Toca Magazine website, here.