Benefits of Open-Ended Playtime

Studies show that, compared with controls, kids allowed a specific type of open-ended play time were:

• More creative. On average they came up with three times as many nonstandard creative uses for specific objects (a standard lab measure) as did controls.

• Better at language. The children’s use of language was more facile. They displayed a richer store of vocabulary and a more varied use of words.

• Better at problem solving. This is fluid intelligence, one of the basic ingredients in the intelligence stew.

• Less stressed. Children regularly exposed to such activity had half the anxiety levels of controls. This may help explain the problem-solving benefit, as problem-solving skills are notoriously sensitive to anxiety.

• Better at memory. Play situations improved memory scores; for example, kids who pretended they were at the supermarket remembered twice as many words on a grocery list as controls.

• More socially skilled. The social-buffering benefits of play are reflected in the crime statistics of inner-city kids. If low-income kids were exposed to play-oriented preschools in their earliest years, fewer than 7 percent had been arrested for a felony by age 23. For children exposed to instruction-oriented preschools, that figure was 33 percent.


Lots of boosts to a child's creativity and cognition when they are allowed free playtime.

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Problem solving (0.966126): dbpedia | freebase
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 Brain Rules for Baby: How to Raise a Smart and Happy Child from Zero to Five
Books, Brochures, and Chapters>Book:  Medina , John (2010-10-12), Brain Rules for Baby: How to Raise a Smart and Happy Child from Zero to Five, Pear Press, Retrieved on 2011-07-27
Folksonomies: parenting pregnancy babies child development