Our friends at Telegraph would concur. Let's look at the base arguments in support of this theory:
- Active play is a natural and primary way that children learn. It is essential to their healthy growth and progress, particularly during periods of rapid brain development.
- Play helps children to learn important social skills, use their imagination, concentrate and be more self-directed.
- Play is not meaningless, nor does it represent an absence of learning; it is essential to helping them grow into successful, well-rounded and happy adults.
Why the disconnect then, you may as well ask? We are playing the devil's advocate here so, lets list down the counter-arguments:
Playtime is too often disregarded as “frivolous and pointless” by parents and educators alike. Perhaps the reason is the increasing pressure placed on children to succeed academically through higher test scores and greater knowledge retention, thus prompting parents and school leadership to reduce playtime in favor of more time in the classroom or library. At home, parents sometimes feel that free time is better spent reading, studying, learning a musical instrument, with some simply fearing that their children playing outside is just too dangerous and/or that they don’t have any time to supervise them.
- The rise in virtual sports and increased usage of mobile devices among children has adversely affected their desire to step outside to play sports.
Is there a fine balance to bridge the growing divide? Sure is. Here is what we can do:
- As noted, spending time outside is also a great opportunity to spend quality time together as a family. As the family explores new places together, the bonding apart, this enables the greatest learning experiences your child can get in the long term.
- Playtime is more than an opportunity for young, energetic kids to run around and learn new skills. It is also a free time to socialize, play new games and explore one’s imagination. After-all, we learnt much of our coping skills while we navigated the many rounds of truth and dare. Yes? Okay, then.
Let the games begin!