With the winter break within reach, it's a great time to think about the value of play. We schedule time for school, work, studying, athletics, extracurriculars and more. Do we set aside enough time to just play?
Research shows us that free play among children has declined sharply in the last 50 years. At the same time, we've seen a drastic rise in anxiety and depression among young people. We know that play serves a critical developmental function for young children; it helps them learn to think creatively, problem solve, collaborate, develop self-control, regulate emotions, make friends and experience joy. When you think about play in those terms, it starts to sound pretty important!
By the time we get to the teen years, time for free play (and respect for what it teaches) has all but disappeared. Imagine what we could do if we made more room for play in our teens' lives? Watch below as researcher Stuart Brown talks about all the ways youthful play leads to happy, smart adulthood.
How will you go out and play today?