In too many cases, the answer is yes. Todays children head back to school equipped with backpacks full of academic tools, and many come home to environments rich with Internet access, books, and other ways to support what happens in school. Yet one thing is frequently missing: the chance to learn through the natural activity of child-directed play.
Researchers have demonstrated that play is central to the healthy development of children in all areas of development: cognitively, physically, emotionally. Many schools tend to focus almost exclusively on academic skills and are increasingly eliminating childrens access to outdoor physical activity, problem solving with and by peers, imaginative play, and the arts.
How can parents keep kids playing amidst all the homework and after-school activities that occupy so much of the average childs week during the school year? Here are some suggestions:
By Susan J. Oliver for the American Specialty Toy Retailing Association.