Summers Give Kids Much-Needed Play

It’s increasingly clear that students need time to explore, to imagine, to get creative, and to gain skills and knowledge they can’t get in a traditional classroom setting. In other words: kids need to play.

And “playtime”, according to child development experts, has been shrinking for years – a trend they say should be reversed.  Consider the evidence:

  • Studies have shown recess improves classroom performance, because kids get the chance to blow off steam and energy and refocus. It even improves tests scores.
  • For younger children, experts say guided and team play is essential to their development early in life. It helps teach kids to regulate their emotions, and it increases awareness of other people’s feelings.
  • There are obvious physical benefits to regular play: students who learn to get outside and exercise early reduce their risk for heart disease and other unhealthy conditions later in life. If you develop regular play or exercise habits between 9 and 18, those habits are likely to stick.
  • Kids – especially lower-income students – are more likely to come to school and stay in school if they get regular, sustained breaks.

So there’s a compelling case to make sure kids have extended time to explore and learn to play with others. That’s exactly what summers are for.