Tuesday, October 28, 2014

To Play and Play and Play ...

Hi All,

Please find a research article about the importance of PLAY and sum it up briefly. Also provide the link in case anybody else would like to read it :)

Thank you!


  1. http://store.msuextension.org/publications/HomeHealthandFamily/MT201003HR.pdf

    The best way a child can learn is through play. There are many different stages of play a child goes through throughout their life as they gain conceptual knowledge about the world itself. Play is important for motor development as well as learning to work well with others. For children work is play! Since the majority of brain development happens after birth, it is essential for children to learn how to interact with others and deal with life as they learn to talk, walk, read, and write especially. Also, play allows children to use their imaginations. By expanding on what they have already learned they are able to advance their knowledge to the next stage. When parents play with their kids, and re-enter their imaginative state, they create bonds with them and a model for their children to look up to. Ultimately, it is through play that children learn the fundamental life skills they will carry throughout their life. Life is a game everyone lives and through play people are able to enjoy what life has to offer by taking the time to create these life-long-experiences.

  2. http://www.journalofplay.org/sites/www.journalofplay.org/files/pdf-articles/3-4-article-lancy-grove-marbles-and-machiavelli.pdf

    The article entitled “Marbles and Machiavelli,” written by David F. Lancy and M. Annette Grove, explains the relationship between traditional play and Machiavellian Intelligence. Machiavellian Intelligence describes human intelligence evolving from social interactions, such as the formation of allies and groups. This crucial form of intelligence is developed through unmanaged play at a young age. An example of such play is the game of marbles. Marbles can be adjusted based on the age of who is playing, and at each stage, children develop different motor and social skills. For example, a young child will simply play with marbles, developing small motor skills and manual dexterity. As the child ages, the game will be played differently as gamesmanship increases in importance. Here, the child will begin manipulating rules, thus developing social intelligence (Machiavellian Intelligence). Older children will begin to focus on understanding the pre-determined rules of the game, which also develops skills used in life.
    The article then describes Machiavellian Intelligence as the basis of human intelligence. Because humans did not evolve to be big and fast, we achieve success through cooperation and group living. Unmanaged play is an excellent way to exercise these skills. The practice of many traditional games includes skills such as negotiation, cooperation, the invention of rules, collaboration, the formation of friendships, and also the manipulation of rules to fit a variety of players.
    A problem that we are currently faced with is that adults are now managing play, and many traditional games are being replaced by video games and online activities. An example of a popular managed game is Little League (a baseball program). The sport is formally managed by coaches and umpires, leaving no room for children to create their own rules and be in charge of how the game is run. These children are missing a vital practice that builds their social intelligence. Also, often parents are heavily involved in play, as they worry about the safety of their children, or they want to fill in for a sibling or friend that their child is lacking. This results in children missing the opportunity to develop their Machiavellian Intelligence through gamesmanship. The presence of video games is also an issue, as it takes the place of free play. Because children often play alone and rules cannot be easily altered, necessary skills are not developed.
    Efforts are being put into place to bring traditional play back to life, as its importance to the development of our social intelligence is being recognized.

    1. Very interesting, Jennifer! Great comment!

  3. http://www.apa.org/pubs/journals/features/bul-a0029321.pdf

    Pretend play is crucial to the development of children. In fact, it is one of the many routes that lead to healthy language, narration and emotional regulation.
    Pretend play is influential to our development as children because it advances our cognitive and physical states. Pretend play is both a social and individual mode of activity. "High season" for pretend play is prominent in children ages 3-5. Pretend play can also overlap with other types of play such as physical play (hopscotch, skip rope) and object play (when a child pretends that they are an animal). With the three of these plays mixing, it contributes to the uniqueness and creativity of the child, which points towards the positive direction that the child will grow up to be intelligent and independent. However, the amount of pretend play that exists between various ethnic backgrounds differ significantly. Non- Anglo cultures do not value pretend play as much, as research shows. This leads to the discrepancies between how play can actually affect the mind and the development of the mind as children grow up.

    1. Thanks for sharing, Winnie! Very interesting!

  4. http://www.importanceofplay.eu/IMG/pdf/dr_david_whitebread_-_the_importance_of_play.pdf

    The research paper entitled "The importance to play", written by Marisol Basilio, Martina Kuvalja and Mohini Verma, comprehensively demonstrates the value of children’s play with a series of policy recommendations.

    In the past times, “play” is usually viewed as an unimportant, and numerous parents believe that play will have negative impact on their children’s study. However, this report is intended to demonstrate that this view is mistaken. It is a particularly important time for the value of children’s play to be recognized. The report underscores the importance of kids' play to address childhood obesity, build social skills and problem-solving abilities, and unleash creativity.

    The report explains the reasons why it is so significant for children to play from various perspectives. Also, the authors use many professional researches in archaeological, historical, anthropological, sociological and psychological areas to strongly prove the value of children’s play.

    It is believed that "play" plays an important role in healthy intellectual, emotional and social development for young children. Furthermore, with the increasing awareness of the significance of play, nternational bodies such as the United Nations and the European Union have begun to consider and develop policies concerned with children’s right to play.

    1. Great points, Daisy! Thanks for sharing!

  5. http://psychcentral.com/blog/archives/2012/11/15/the-importance-of-play-for-adults/

    Play for adults

    According to Dr. Bowen White, play can have the same effect on adults as it does on kids. He mentions that it does not only promote happiness but it also builds relationships and relieves stress. Dr. White is also a clown that mostly visits Hospitals, Prisons, and corporate presentations. He has been all over the world studying the effects of play and what exactly play is. He states that play isn’t just one thing, it’s something different for everyone. It may be a particular sport for one person and it may be knitting for another. He also writes about how to play, which he breaks down into 4 simple things. First is change how you think of play. Give yourself permission to play, ask your dog a ridiculous question about politics. Secondly he states to take a play history. Go back in time and remember some of your fondest moments of play and how can you recreate those today. Thirdly he mentions to surround yourself with playful people. Play will happen naturally and spontaneous this way. Fourthly he says to play with the little ones. You can experience what they are feeling through play. His closing remark is quite interesting, “play is for the purest expression of love.” I think play is extremely important in all aspects of life whether it is at work, school, home, or in a relationship. Without play, I find that life just feels like a grind. I need play in all aspects of my life.

  6. http://search.proquest.com.ezproxy.library.ubc.ca/docview/1556916511

    As we grow older, we lose the concept of play as mathematics and essays begin to take over. In actuality, play develops many of the skills we desire and need as adults. Studies show that children from 9 to 12 should be getting more than one hour if play in doors. It’s just not enough! One of the most obvious things that play helps us develop is our innovation and creativity. Children do not need parents to tell them how to play. They eventually figure out how to conjure new games, and new stories to keep themselves preoccupied. Parents should allow their children and encourage them to play because it raises great innovators.
    When playing with other children we learn to develop self-control and cooperation. We soon realize that playing games is not fun unless we follow the rules. During a disagreement with another child, throwing a tantrum would ruin the games for everyone. Children begin to learn that throwing a tantrum would not get what they want all the time. Being self-absorbed drives all the other children away. They would have to endure these emotions in order to have fun and get along with the other children.
    Skipping rope, playing basketball, or stacking blocks is not an easy task at first for children. We learn that if we want to achieve, we have to keep on practicing to do better. Parents want children to practice piano, math, and spelling. The only difference between practicing during play and practicing what parents tell them to do is that they get a choice in what they want to practice. We start to pay attention to the small details. These skills translate to paying attention to other things like decimal points and adverbs.
    Children have to solve their own problems no matter if they are emotional, social, physical, or intellectual. Adults are always there to help children out whenever they need something fixed. During play, children have to make decisions themselves. This practices independence because the children are the ones making the choices.
    Play is a nature’s way of educating children. It teaches us how to become successful, smart, and sociable as adults. Substituting school for play is not always the best choice because children lose opportunities to develop their skills to become more independent.

  7. Ginsburg. K. R. “The Importance of Play in Promoting Healthy Child Development and Maintaining Strong Parent-Child Bonds” PEDIATRICS 119 (1), pp 182 -191. 1 Jan. 2007. Web. 16 Nov. 2014.

    This paper states that playing actually can promote children' s health, and it also helps to maintain the relationship between kids and parents. Children can develop their creativity, dexterity as well as enhance physical and cognitive strength. When kids are at early ages, play allows them to explore and interact with this world, by cooperating with other children or adult, they can learn how to work in groups, to share, to negotiate and to resolve problems. Play can also help kids adjust to school setting so play is integrated with academic learning.

    However, the time for free play has reduced for some children. In order to spare more time on study, some elementary schools decide to shrink the time for play so that students can commit more time to Math and English. There are also parents who advocate to this because they hope their children can get into good universities in the future by obtaining higher average at school. Nevertheless, potential effects of shortening the play time of kids can cause stress and anxiety to children therefore influence the balance of their emotions.

  8. http://www.helpguide.org/articles/emotional-health/benefits-of-play-for-adults.htm

    Play is an equally important aspect of life for adults as it is for children. It is an incredibly important source of relaxation and because of how conducive play is to imagination and creativity it should be an integral part of everyone's life. It is therefore important for an adult to separate the boundaries between work and play, as play should be unstructured and doesn't need to focus on accomplishing any goals. This leads to a safer state of mind in which you are more likely to feel the benefits of play. Through play one receives a heavy dose of endorphins, which apart from bringing good feelings, also contribute to the relief of stress. Play can also contribute to your problem solving skills as it can lead one to be able to imagine more creative ways to figure out complex problems. Lastly, play can help you improve your relationships and connections with others. It can help foster feelings of trust and commitment to your fellow playmates. Overall, play is an important aspect of everyone's lives as it can contribute to improvements in many facets of life and it is something that everyone should be making time for in their schedules.

  9. For all students in University, the exam period can be one of the most stressful times that students have to go through. Many wellness centers have suggested that lack of sleep and poor nutritional choices will contribute to the high levels of cortisol in the body. Recently, more wellness centers have been investigating resources that could help students get their stress under control as well as have a good academic performance. One of the most interesting additions to these resources has been the introduction to “The Puppy Room” which can now be found in a lot of universities in Canada. The puppy room is where students go in the room and are allowed to play with a puppy for however long they need. “The Wellness Center believes that playing with puppy can reduce stress, lower blood pressure and reduce the feelings of loneliness” (Huffpost British Columbia). UofC has also adopted this method and last year I went to one of these puppy rooms during final season. I can agree that playing with a puppy helped a lot with my stress as well as took my mind off things for a short period of time. It’s amazing that a few minutes of playing with an animal can lower stress levels. In this article there contains a video which explains that “Pet Therapy” can help lower students acute stress from a hard day.

    Sarah Rippe

  10. http://search.proquest.com/docview/1556916511

    Child’s play is more than a game. It’s the natural, joyful means of learning how to become smart social, and successful adults. When kids play the learn to cooperate, make connections and learn interpersonal skills and get a social sense of the world.

    When children play they let their mind roam free so they learn how to think better and innovate which plays into their creative skills and they become more creative. When children aren’t told what to do, they are free to be themselves which encourages creativity in children

    To play, children learn they must follow the rules, allow others their turns, and control their impulses and emotions. But children must control those emotions to keep playing. They learn not to cry at a minor injury or throw a tantrum when they get upset. They learn not to give in to fear or tattle to an adult because doing so would ruin the game.

    When children play games they need to pay attention to what they are doing in order to win the game and be successful. So the best way that they learn to pay attention is by playing games and sports with their friends and not by someone yelling out instructions to them. Playing is the best form of a teaching tool.

    While playing children also manage difficult tasks because when you are playing games you need to make important decisions which decide you wins and who loses so playing also helps develop good problem solving skills.

    As well to get better at a certain game children learn to practice, yes practice because if they want to be better at a certain game that they want to play they have to practice on their own time and take responsibility for their own growth. This is how children develop these important skills and its by playing games that they love to play.

  11. http://faculty.spokanefalls.edu/InetShare/AutoWebs/kimt/The%20Importance%20of%20Play.pdf

    “The Importance of Play” written by Bruno Bettelheim, who claims the way children playing is often different from what their parents want them to play. Also, the best way to know a child is to understand the way he plays. The emotions and concerns of children are well expressed during they are playing. Also, children can learn a lot of things through playing, for example, cooperating with others; solving problems. The most important function of playing is to learn how to solve problems and organize things. During this process, the adults should not bother them. If the adults go to help them, they know every time the adults will help them, thus they will become more and more dependent. Also, during games, children will know how to handle failure or success.

  12. http://www.fisher-price.com/en_US/playtime/parenting/articlesandadvice/articledetail.html?article=tcm:169-17075

    Importance of Play in Early Childhood Education

    Play is crucial for children in their early stages of growing and learning. By playing they develop life skills as well as habits for the future. It is important for them to play on their own as it allows them to develop personal skills as well as helps with growth as immense amount of energy is required. The three most important reasons as to why play is necessary for small children are: skill development, creativity and imagination, and developing social skills. Children develop skills by learning how to coordinate movement and to use their senses to work around obstacles when playing. Imagination and creativity comes into play when kids are able to express new ideas and recognize characters and roles such as a firefighter, dad, and fairy. Lastly, by playing with other children social skills can be learned and approved on. Playing with others allows for kids to interact and learn skills such as sharing.

  13. http://www.education.com/magazine/article/play-preschool-matters/

    We were all children at one point in time. Our world would revolve around play time and we would anticipate the end of learning with the excitement for recess and lunch. Play time is an important aspect to learning at a young age. Superficially, it may seem that it has no correlation to learning, but if parents delve into the psychological impacts of play, they will understand that the basis of learning is built from it. There are various advantageous factors in child play that contribute to learning: language and vocabulary development, imagination and creativity, problem solving and mathematics, and gross and fine motor development.
    Some of these factors are described here. Language and vocabulary development can be witnessed when children play with their friends, family, and toys such as dolls and vehicles. They learn by listening to their surroundings as well as picking up new words by playing with unfamiliar toys. Unlocking imagination and creativity can be achieved by dramatic play and utilizing craft supplies. This allows children to a create what they mentally see, feel, and think. While children play with blocks and puzzles, they can foster problem solving skills. It allows them to engage in different shapes and sizes. Lastly, gross and fine motor development can be attained through different activities varying from intricate stringing of beads to kicking balls in all sorts of directions. For educational purposes, muscle development in the hand can help with writing.
    Child play contributes to education in many ways and it can definitely reap educational benefits from it!

  14. http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/pdf/10.1080/00094056.2002.10522188

    The article ‘How Much Do We Know About the Importance of Play in Child Development’ by Ling-Ling Tsao delves into the different theories and current knowledge that we have regarding playing and its importance in the development of children. Vast amounts of research and many well-regarded theorists believe and/or have shown that there is more to playing than simply having a good time. Theorists throughout the ages have offered up their own takes on why playing exists and its role in the development of children.
    Theories such as the pre-exercise theory state that play helps children prepare for the future by helping them to learn and practice skills that will be essential for survival as they grow older. However, classical theories like this are less based on scientific research than they are based on observation and theories. More modern theories present other ideas about the importance of play. Freud thought that play helped children work through situations where they were unhappy. He thought that recreating scenarios with toys would allow them to resolve the situation and turn the unhappy feelings into happy ones. Other psychoanalytic theorists believe a child’s ability to manipulate things like toys in his or her environment is self-esteem boosting. This leads to them progressing to social interactions and learning how to act around other children.
    A cognitive theorist named Piaget was of the opinion that play is critical in aiding the mental development of children by comparing each stage of play to different levels of development. Different types of play need different levels of cognitive sophistication and as a result, each type of play is found at each different level, showing the current development of a child.
    It is agreed by all the major theorists that playing contributes greatly to the development of children. It helps them to meet psychological and physical needs, and demonstrates their current levels of ability. It helps them to master behaviors and learn to interact with other children. It also prepares them for the future and the skills they will require as adults.
    There is a relationship between the play materials that children use and their problem solving skills. It has been indicated that children who use toys imaginatively are more creative than other children who might not do so. Research has shown that toys with only one function tend to encourage children to try and find the one correct answer and ignore all other possible solutions, whereas divergent objects encourage the search of creative approaches to problems later in life.
    Play is also strongly related to the acquisition of language. There are correlations between communication and play, as language and vocabulary is improved as the children interact with their peers.
    In addition to the linguistic and intellectual benefits of playtime, there are social benefits. A study where children were observed at play showed how these interactions took place. Different play behaviors exhibited by children showed differences in social acceptance amongst their peers. The children who were witnessed to have the most success at making friends were observed to engage in certain behaviors while playing that increased their odds of making friends, such as being cooperative, being sociable and sharing toys. The children who were not universally liked by their peers did not.
    Play has a crucial role in the development of children. It is important for teachers to observe play to figure out what a child finds interesting and how best to teach them. It is also crucial in this day and age to allow children to play and enjoy themselves in a happy, light-hearted manner due to all the negative and/or violent content present in the media. All of this has a detrimental effect on children, which must be countered by playtime. It is important to make time for children to play and to encourage it to help boost their intellectual development, linguistic abilities and social skills.

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  16. As a developing child, play plays an important role in their development. Children play a lot, 3 to 20% of their energy is spent in playing alone. Playing provides benefits to children but unfortunately play has become less genuine as society moves forward. We should encourage parents to allow their kids to engage in more playful activities. Social play is the interaction between the toddler (up to 2 years of age) with their parent. This is important in creating and strengthening the bond between them. After their cognitive skills begin to develop, they will start to interact with other children which can help their social skills and problem skills. They will learn to cooperate and to communicate with each other which is an important step in the development of a child. As the child gets to the age of 3 to 7, they tend to play fight which may be worrying for some parents but there is no real intent in inflicting harm. There are many different types of games and toys that specifically help children improve motor coordination, creativity, mathematics, and language and reading skill which is why play is so important. These forms of guided play should be incorporated with free play in early education to ensure the that the children develop and improve necessary skills.


  17. Play is an important part of our social, emotional, physical, as well as creative development.. It has been said that during play, children will increase their social competence and emotional maturity.

    Some of the things that play can enable children to do are:
    -Practice both verbal and nonverbal communication skills by negotiating roles, trying to gain access to ongoing play, and appreciating the feelings of others (Spodek & Saracho, 1998).
    -Respond to their peers’ feelings while waiting for their turn and sharing materials and experiences (Sapon-Shevin, Dobbelgere, Carrigan, Goodman, & Mastin, 1998; Wheeler, 2004).
    -Experiment with roles of the people in their home, school, and community by coming into contact with the needs and wishes of others (Creasey, Jarvis, & Berk, 1998; Wheeler, 2004).
    -Experience others’ points of view by working through conflicts about space, materials, or rules positively (Smilansky & Shefatya, 1990; Spodek & Saracho, 1998).

    Source: http://www.education.com/reference/article/importance-play--social-emotional/

    In addition, play also supports the emotional development of individuals through providing a way to express yet cope with their own feelings. Through pretend play, children can learn to think aloud their experiences which allows them to better cope with their emotions.

    1. I've also written a piece in the perspective of a child during the moments of play (hoping to encompass feelings of exploration, happiness, and laughter):

      A Child’s summer in Taipei

      It is early in the morning and my family is driving to the beach. From the windows of my car, I can see the grains of the golden sand that glimmer beneath the sun. It runs along the edges of the majestic water with a brilliant shine of azure. I am happy that I can escape the polluted dust and air of the heavily crowded city.

      I get out of my car and follow the children who are running around trying to grasp the tiny crabs with their small fingers. I try to catch one, but instead my fingers seep into the sand and I touch a white smooth shell. I place it against my ears, trying to listen to the voices of my ancestors, but all I can hear is the sound of the loud ocean crashing into the surface of the sand.

      There is a festival happening and I run as my feet sink into the sand leaving a trail of tiny footprints. The water washes away my steps and I can feel the waves trying to catch me and hold me in its cold, refreshing arms. But I am fast and I outrun the waters towards a man holding balloons and lanterns with light sticks inside of them. I ask my parents to buy me one even though there are lots at home.

      The lanterns are made with red fabric, so smooth like silk and a puppy’s newly groomed fur. There is a light stick inside of each, capturing the essence of the decoration and holding inside the traditions and histories of Taipei. I count to the lucky number 3 and let my fingers unravel as I let go of the angelic red creature. I can see it soar up into the sky under the eyes of the glorious sun, but I tell it to move away so that the heat doesn’t engulf it. It shines so brightly and continues its way into the arms of a fluffy white gossamer.

      Summer in Taipei is a time for food and there a number of stalls along the scorching beach. I run to my favorite stall that sells sticky rice covered in bamboo leaves. I remember making this with my family. We would take mushrooms and rice and eggs and meat and shape them so that they were triangular and could be easily wrapped in the khaki sopping leaves.

      The shade of the canopy covers me from the monstrous heat of the sun that has left red marks and bites along my skin. But I am young and small and I do not mind my scars and bruises. All I want is to enjoy the summertime beach filled with stalls of my favorite food, my favorite things and my favorite people.