Friday, February 13, 2015

Friday Freebie: What I'm Reading in Ten Minutes or Less: Why Kids Need to Play
My daughter has the day off today, so we began the day by taking advantage of the fact that no alarm clocks were necessary. She watched some television, and headed out for lunch with a friend. I planned to write, but got an unexpected, lovely phone call from my sister that took me away from the computer and into human interaction that left me smiling.

It's been a lazy, enjoyable morning. The kind that can be guilt-inspiring, if we're not smart enough to know that sometimes, we need downtime.

As federal regulations and standardized testing change the face of public education, downtime is being squeezed out of our children's days, too. When I first started working as a school counselor thirty years ago, multiple recesses were the norm. Now, kids are lucky if they get ten minutes to play after lunch in an otherwise packed school day. We may be gaining an academic edge (though that is debatable in my mind), but we stand to lose a lot as we shift our priorities toward linear thinking and away from fluency, creativity and originality -- the stuff of which recess is made.

Recently, German researchers found a relationship between social success as adults and time to explore as children. An article in Pacific Standard Magazine shares the highlights of this study, as well as providing links to further resources.

If you live somewhere in the world where record-low temperatures are forecast for this weekend (as I do), a day at the playground might not be in your plans. But there's plenty of fun to be had, if we loosen the structure and toss out the guilt.

Isn't that what weekends are for?

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