Here’s an excerpt from an interview in U.S. News and World Report with Stuart Brown, author of a new book, Play: How It Shapes the Brain, Opens the Imagination, and Invigorates the Soul.
Schools are eliminating recess and piling on the homework, too. But you say that there’s lots of evidence that kids actually do better in school with more play, not less. How’s that?
The evidence is solid and growing that not only academic performance but [also] attention span is improved in direct correlation to the amount of play. Just get kids doing rough-and-tumble play, and their mental health improves.
But the No Child Left Behind mandates have put a lot of pressure on teachers, and that has meant less recess, less PE time, which means more sedentary kids with less playtime. The illusion that playtime hampers academic performance is one that has to be dispelled by the evidence of what play does.