What a combination this is! It is not new information.....but unfortunately is it is not widely known that play is the way the brain learns best. Let's change that!!
When a child is moving, is using several senses, is exploring, or tries things out in various ways, brain cells are changing and learning is taking place. A child needs to participate in activities not just watch. Research demonstrates more active brain activity during play as opposed to passive observation. The brain also needs trial and error and a lot of repetition in fun and interesting ways. All of this is provided through play.
Play also provides the opportunity to learn to get along with other people. When children play with parents or other children a lot is learned about how relationships work. This social interaction through play allows children to develop skills for self regulation. In addition, playing with others can lead to laughter.
Laughter is wonderful for the brain. Play and laughter activates the caring and thinking areas of the brain. Laughing lightens our mood through reducing the level of stress hormones affecting the brain. It provides a physical and emotional release. Laughter can also lead to creating closer connections with other people. Laughter is also contagious so we can share this beneficial brain activity with others when we are laughing.
Physical play additionally provides many benefits to the brain. It first of all simply increases the amount of oxygen to the brain. Research also indicates that safe rough and tumble play can positively influence the activity in the thinking part of the brain. Numerous studies show that providing physical activity during the school day is correlated with improved academic performance.
If play takes place outdoors there are even more advantages. Natural environments have a very positive effect on the brain. Unstructured time in a natural setting provides invaluable opportunities for learning that workbooks, flashcards, or electronic devices can never offer.
Children simply need adults to understand that the brain learns best through positive, safe, and fun interactive experiences.
Following are articles, websites, and books to provide additional interesting and valuable information:
Physical Activity May Strengthen Childrens' Ability To Pay Attention
Student's physical fitness associated with academic achievement
Why are Movement & Creative Activities so Important to a Child's Development & Learning?
Seven Things You Can do to Save Recess
A resource and program promoting play:
Two Valuable New Books:
Smart Parenting, Smarter Kids by David Walsh,Ph.D
What's Eating Your Child? by Kelly Dorfman, MS,LND
Blogs and Websites:
Children & Nature Blog
Love Outdoor Play Guest post from Sue Atkins