Since strong brain connections are made through repetition, I am going to say it again..... young brains develop best through play! Brain pathways for learning are made through being read to, imaginative and self-directed play, positive interactions with caring adults, outdoor play with other children, and exploring real objects.
I am extremely enthused by this wonderful article from the New York Times, The Movement to Restore Children's Play Gains Momentum. Most of the information shared in this article is the same message I share when doing brain presentations on, "Learning About Learning". So, it is so exciting for me to see the emphasis on the benefits of play increasing! It is thrilling to frequently become aware of new programs, projects, and initiatives to promote play. This article shares the amazing response to one effort:
"To try to reach more parents, a coalition called Play for Tomorrow this fall staged what amounted to a giant play date in Central Park. The event, known as the Ultimate Block Party, featured games like I Spy, mounds of Play-Doh, sidewalk chalk, building blocks, puzzles and more. The National Science Foundation was closely involved, advising organizers — and emphasizing to parents — the science and the educational value behind each of the carefully chosen activities. Organizers were hoping to attract 10,000 people to the event. They got more than 50,000."
Additionally, it is wonderful to know that the value and science behind each activity was shared with parents. In my experience adults benefit from understanding the way in which early experiences impact brain connections. It is helpful and reassuring to realize how the interactions or activities children are engaged in support neural development.
One of the many reasons I developed Brain Development Activity Packets is to promote the type of play mentioned in this article. Busy parents need ideas right on hand to encourage fun activities through out the day, I am so anxious for the day when children's days are primarily filled with play. Let's do all we can to make that day come soon!!