5 Reasons Children Need PLAY in School!

Posted by on Aug 24, 2012

5 Reasons Children Need PLAY in School!

As school begins, KaBoom! , an amazing organization that is devoted to promoting play (and that donated our fabulous “Playgrounds in a Box”), has a great list of 5 reasons why kids need play in school! For example, did you know that Finnish children, who receive an average of 75 minute of recess a day, routinely rank higher in International Student Assessment Scores than American children, who receive an average of about 26 minutes of recess a day? Or that the decrease of play in the U.S. is linked to problems like childhood obesity, ADHD, and stunted social & cognitive development? For more reasons why it is so important that kids play in school, read the rest of KaBoom’s article! And visit KaBoom’s research page for an incredible wealth of studies & resources about the importance of...

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The Ages and Stages of Play

Posted by on May 25, 2011

Despite the popularity of expensive electronic toys, classic toys – such as wooden blocks – are actually more likely to keep a child’s attention over time. As they grow and develop, children are able to use basic toys in different ways, and you can expect to see children of different ages interact differently with the same toy. For example, children of all ages enjoy playing with a rubber ball. A 6-month-old will just enjoy touching and feeling the ball. By 18 months, most children will be able to throw the ball overhand. And by age 3, kids can usually kick and catch the ball. Read this article on  Parents.com to learn more about how kids at different stages use balls, blocks, crayons, stuffed animals, puzzles, and toy instruments.  Take these differences into consideration when deciding how to use a particular toy with a child, and enjoy using these great basics at...

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Play & Learning

Posted by on May 17, 2011

Lately, kids are being pushed toward spending more time on academics and less time on play. Recently, however, this trend has seen some backlash, and research is showing that children may actually learn best through “hard play.” In fact, the American Academy of Pediatrics, has stated that “play (or some available free time in the case of older children and adolescents) is essential to the cognitive, physical, social, and emotional well-being of children and youth.” This article, featured on Playborhood, suggests that play may actually be critical to the development of higher-order mental functions. Yet more evidence that Playtime is helping our kids to learn and...

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Reading Skills Predict High School Graduation Rates

Posted by on May 17, 2011

Reading Skills Predict High School Graduation Rates

Reading is a great Playtime activity – and it may be even more important than we thought! Double Jeopardy: How Poverty & Third-Grade Reading Skills Influence High School Graduation, a longitudinal study that followed  nearly 4,000 students, found that students who do not read proficiently in the third grade are four times more likely to leave high school without a diploma than those who do read proficiently. The study, which was commissioned by the Annie E. Casey Foundation, also found that over 22% of children who have lived in poverty do not graduate from high school, compared to 6% of those who have never been poor. For children who were poor for at least one year and were not proficient readers by the third grade, 26% do not graduate from high school. This is more than 6 times the rate for proficient readers. Reading with our kids could be crucial to their future success – so at the next Playtime, try settling down with a few good...

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The Importance of Developmental Milestones

Posted by on May 6, 2011

The Importance of Developmental Milestones

From birth to age 5, children reach important Developmental Milestones.Why is it important to watch for these milestones? While each child’s development is unique, an absence of a developmental milestone may signal a problem with the child’s development in that area. The earlier developmental delays or disorders are identified and treated, the better the outcome for the child will be. Why is that? Because young children’s brains are growing incredibly quickly! A newborn’s brain is about 1/4 of the size of an adult brain, but by age 3 the brain as grown to 80% of adult size, and by age 5, a child’s brain has reached 90% of brain development occurs by age 5. This development is activity-dependent. That is, a child’s brain development is shaped by the experiences the child has during this time. Check out this article on the Zero to Three website for more detailed information on brain development. The downside of this rapid development is that young children growing up in challenging environments-  and dealing with issues like homelessness – are more likely to experience developmental delays. The upside, though, is that because young children’s brains are so susceptible to new experiences, playtime is a great opportunity to make a huge difference in the development of the children we reach. By keeping an eye out for possible development delays, we as volunteers are in an ideal position to help address these issues, both through targeted playtime activities and by referring parents, when appropriate, to...

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