New Research on the Benefits of Play

As one who takes playing with my grandchildren very seriously, I was glad to see new research supporting the importance of play in the development of children.

Research conducted by Olga Jarrett, a professor emeritus at Georgia State University, shows the importance of recess.

Dr. Jarrett draws on her experiences as a mother, civil rights activist and researcher to emphasize the benefits of regular breaks throughout the day. Recess helps brain development and improves concentration. Other benefits include learning social skills, learning how to organize, lead and follow direction, deciding what’s fair and what’s not fair and learning how to resolve conflict.

I would also add that play helps develop a child’s imagination and creativity. And that we never outgrow the need for play. Adults also need regular breaks from their jobs.

Her research found that recess was often lacking in poorer schools where the focus was on raising test scores. And too often taking away recess was used as a way to punish children for misbehavior.

Dr. Jarrett believes so strongly in the importance of play that she thinks it should be mandated for all schools. I would prefer an approach that says to the folks who run the schools, “The research on the benefits of play is so compelling why wouldn’t you promote it?”

Here’s where the experts tout the benefits of play:

The American Journal of Play –

International Play Association –

And if you are ever in the Kansas City area, a great museum to visit is the National Museum of Toys and Miniatures.

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