Playtime Benefits Children’s Development
January 23, 2007 -- Children’s mental development can benefit from stimulating play even if the child is malnourished or living in poverty, says a new study in the medical journal The Lancet.
Researchers examined programs from developing countries such as Bangladesh and Jamaica and found a link between intellect and child’s play -- the children had up to a nine-point improvement in their IQ from simply playing. The study notes that a higher IQ translates into more years of education and ultimately better wages when the child reaches adulthood. It also draws on several previous studies to estimate that more than 200 million children fail to fully develop their cognitive abilities because of poverty, malnutrition, and under-stimulation.
The National Academies have a variety of reports that examine child growth and development. From Neurons to Neighborhoods: The Science of Early Childhood Development finds play to be an essential element of healthy development and concludes that play is a natural method toward “astonishing developmental achievements” in infants. Eager to Learn: Educating Our Preschoolers explores the benefits of play with regard to not only cognitive and language ability, but also self-regulation and social competence. The report suggests the use of playtime as a tool for teachers to help children develop and learn.
Growing Up Global: The Changing Transitions to Adulthood in Developing Countries finds that more years spent in education and higher educational attainment are critical for a healthy and productive adulthood.