The Power of Play

in Everyday Learning

David Elkind, internationally renowned child psychologist, wrote The Hurried Child over 25 years ago. Now a classic of parenthood, his work alerted parents and teachers to the risks of hurrying children to grow up too fast too soon.

His latest work, The Power of Play, continues that conversation. “Today’s children,” he says, “spend more time on academics, competitive sports, and passive, electronic entertainment than any generation in history. …What happened to free time and lazy afternoons of unstructured play? When did it become a sign of responsible parenting to schedule every moment of our children’s lives?”

With authority and good sense, Elkind reassures parents that imaginative play is essential for a little one’s emotional, social, and academic success. “I now appreciate that silencing children’s play is as harmful to healthy development (if not more so) as hurrying them to grow up too fast too soon.”

In The Power of Play, Dr. Elkind shares practical ideas for bringing spontaneous, self-initiated play back into the lives of young children. Children learn best with hands-on learning and an involved parent. Play and the profound learning that goes with it are the best for our youngest minds.

Here are more ideas to keep open-ended play a part of your child’s everyday life:

  • Talk to and with your child every day
  • Read aloud and talk about storybooks
  • Listen to music and move to music
  • Play with all kinds of balls
  • Dig, plant, and explore the back yard
  • Create a dress-up box

And remember the basics: blocks, a cardboard box, a box of crayons, saucepans, and wooden spoons are just fine.

Here are two related posts on the power of play:

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