Did you know that make believe play and time spent running around a playground actually correlates to academic achievement? Seriously. Scientists have done studies on this and have found that not only does play time help the brain develop, but it also makes the brain more ready to learn new material. That should make you feel good to know that all those hours spent going to the park were actually making your kids smarter!
Creative Play Help With Problem Solving Skills
During creative play, children grow in many ways that will benefit them in the future. One of the biggest areas this helps, is with problem solving skills. As children work together to build tall towers, link up train tracks, decide how to "cook" the wooden eggs, etc, they must navigate through challenges of deciding which piece to add next or who gets the next turn to add a piece. It may seem simple, but this is the start to learning how to work together which is a super important skill for later group projects and eventually in the workforce. Problem solving is also valuable for creative thinking. In order to keep developing new solutions in our world, we really need creative, problem solvers.
Creative Play Helps With Language Development
Also, as they learn to work collaboratively, they make considerable growth in language development. They are able to learn new words from each other, try out words with their friends, and practice their pronunciation. Learning to communicate effectively is one of the most important skills anyone can learn. I mean, if you think about it, how many adults do you know that might benefit from a little more time honing this skill? Let's make sure our kids play a lot so they can communicate effectively by the time they are grown-ups!
Free Play Prepares the Brain to Learn
In addition to developing their creative thinking, problem solving abilities and increasing their language, free play time also prepares the brain more for learning tasks. Research has shown that children who get more free play breaks actually learn more of what is being taught in the classroom. Structured PE type activities do not provide the same benefit. The play must be child-led and open to creativity in order for the child to receive the most benefits.
Schools that make sure to incorporate free play time throughout their days consistently have children that perform better on learning tasks. More research is still being conducted, but the best amount of free time for brain benefits during a school day seems to be in about 10-20 minute periods.
Free play and recess helps with memory and brain growth. It really is beneficial for children in so many ways!
So, the next time your kids are working for a long time on homework or a project, be sure to give them play breaks. It will not only make them happier and the work feel less like torture, but it will also make them smarter, too.
In addition, be sure to encourage creative, free play with young children. Building with blocks, and playing with imaginary creatures will help their brain grow for future academic success. Knights and unicorns should be welcome additions to any playroom or classroom.
Play on! xoxo Jennifer
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