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News Link • Children

Why You Should Forget School and Let Kids Play


Breaking news: kids need to play, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics.

Seriously, it took the American Academy of Pediatrics to let us know that?

Better yet, the doctors now recommend that parents even get involved in playing with their children, especially before they turn two.

"This may seem old-fashioned, but there are skills to be learned when kids aren't told what to do," said Dr. Michael Yogman, a Harvard Medical School pediatrician who led the drafting of the call to arms. Whether it's rough-and-tumble physical play, outdoor play or social or pretend play, kids derive important lessons from the chance to make things up as they go, he said.

It is great that they are getting this right, but it really shouldn't take an Academy of doctors to know this. It should be pretty intuitive. Kids automatically run around, play, and make up games when left alone. So I suppose the only surprising part to some people should be that sometimes, you should leave your kid alone.

So it only makes sense that play is integral for learning and exercising this mental process.

Some kids play "house" and act out what they think it means to be a family, a mother, and a father. Other kids wrestle and learn the consequences of slamming their heads into the wall, versus the couch, versus the window.

The recommendation from the AAP hardly scratches the surface of just how important it is for kids to play.

Indeed, new research demonstrates why playing with blocks might have been time better spent, Yogman said. The trial assessed the effectiveness of an early mathematics intervention aimed at preschoolers. The results showed almost no gains in math achievement.

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