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Why Not Playing Is Such A Detriment to Learning

By Nigel Boys

According to a recent article in Forbes, taking away playtime during recess at schools, maybe turning our children into non-creative thinkers who will not have the ability to come up with new ways to solve global problems in the near future.

The article continues that children need to be able to play creatively in order to develop skills that will help them later in life and bring out the best of our future inventors, scientists, problem solvers and artists, to name but a few.

Proof that playtime is good for growing minds can be found in a study published in Developmental Psychology over 40 years ago, according to Scientific American.

During the study, researchers took 90 preschool children and separated them into three groups. The first two groups were given everyday objects, such as paper towels, paper clips, a screwdriver and a wooden board, but the third group was told to draw whatever they wanted without being given anything at all to play with or examine.

The first group was allowed to play with the objects however they wanted, while the second group was asked to use the objects to imitate an experimenter, but to use the objects as they would be normally used.

After a period of 10 minutes, all three groups were then asked to think of imaginative ways the objects could be used.

As expected the third group was slightly less imaginative than the second group, because they had not previously seen the objects at all, but the first group, who had been allowed to play freely with the objects, surpassed the other two groups with regards to creative ideas by about 3 times.

However, all is not lost for the next generation, because various groups are trying to re-introduce creative thinking in our children by allowing them to learn through playing.

Johann Olav Koss, CEO of Right to Play and former speed skating world record holder, is one of those encouraging children to increase their potential by playing.

Koss and his organization believe that all children have the right to enjoy playing freely. They are traveling the world encouraging children to learn through creative playtime.

Others who agree with Koss, that children develop better when they are allowed time to play are: The American Academy of Pediatrics; Jill Vialet, founder and CEO of “Playworks;” and Kyung Hee Kim, a professor of education at the College of William and Mary, Williamsburg, Virginia.

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