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Play and brain development

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Kristy Young

on 9 May 2014

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Transcript of Play and brain development

Play and brain development
Many studies have been conducted to see the effects of play on brain development. From studies on animals, language, academics and observations, the results all say that play is crucial to cognitive development in children.
how to incorporate play...

Dewar, G. (2014). The cognitive benefits of play: Effects on the learning play. Retrieved from http://www.parentingscience.com/benefits-of-play.html

Van Hoorn, Nourot, Scales, & Alward. (2011). Play at the Center of the Curriculum. Upper Saddle Creek, NJ: Pearson.
Is play essential to brain development in a child? Playful behaviors seem to have positive effects on cognitive development and a child's ability to learn. Children learn from their experiences during play socially, cognitively, physically, and emotionally. Having the experience many doctors and scientists believe play is essential and crucial for a child while learning. (Dewar, 2014)
The importance of play
In 1964, a study was conducted on rats. Some were raised in a boring consolidated place and others in a toy filled environment. When scientists studies the brains of the rats, they found the ones raised in the enriched environments had thicker cerebral cortices. The research confirmed that the rats that played had bigger brains. (Dewar, 2014)
Several other experimental studies have been done that show young children pay more attention towards their academics when they have had an unstructured break, like a recess or play time. "Chinese and Japanese students, who are among the best achievers in the world, attend schools that provide short breaks every 50 minutes" (Dewar, 2014).
Studies have also shown that symbolic, pretend play have been linked to language development in young children. A study of children ages 1 - 6 showed that students who scored higher on a test of symbolic play had better receptive and expressive language skills. Recent research also suggests that playing with blocks also contributes to language skills. (Dewar, 2014)
Studies were also done to show the development of children's brains and their tie to problem solving skills and math linked with play. A longitudinal study measured the complexity of children’s block play at age 4 and then tracked their academic performance through high school (Wolfgang, Stannard, & Jones, 2001). "The association between block play and math performance remained even after researchers controlled for a child’s IQ. It therefore seems plausible that block play itself influenced the cognitive development of these kids" (Dewar, 2014).
It is very important to find the interests of the students you are working with to develop forms of play they are likely to engage in. Teachers can develop a play oriented classroom by considering factors of age-appropriate activities and individual development (Van Hoorn, Nourot, Scales, Alward, 2011). Play can be incorporated in language arts, mathematics, science, social studies, the arts, and other important developmental skills easily. Especially in the early childhood classroom, play can be implemented into the everyday classroom.
Language Arts: Play can be implemented through:
~ readers theaters
~ puppet shows
~ symbolic play like playing family, school, restaurant, etc.
~ Story writing and illustrating
~ Writing plays
~ Recording reciting of poems
~ Circle story telling. (Building on each others stories)
~ Use dice, cards, and blocks as learning manipulatives and for math games like operation war, sorting shapes, and creating arrays with dice.
~ Use songs to learn new concepts like perimeter, area, and place value. This website has lots of songs http://mathstory.com/mathsongs/mathsongs.htm#.U2uySyR5IRU
~ Have students use their bodies for whole body learning in lessons about symmetry, multiplication, lines and more!

Social Studies:
~ Take walks around town to learn about community
~ Create plays about using good character. Act them out!
~ Dress up as historical figures and act like them for a day!
~ Do experiments when learning about weather.
~ Use clay to make fossils.
~ Go on a rock hunt to collect and learn about different types of rocks.
~ Make a shadow puppet show when learning about light.
1. "How Do Dinosaurs Play with Their Friends" by Jane Yolen - This story discusses play in a fun engaging way. Children get encouraged to play and learn how to play with their friends correctly.
2. "Just Playing? The Role and Status of Play in Early Childhood Education" - this book uses research to explain why we should encourage, promote, value and initiate play in our classrooms, and why teachers should be part of it.
3. http://www.bbbgeorgia.org/recentResearch.php - Better Brains for Babies is a website where the most advanced research is used to support the use of play in babies and how it helps develop their brains.
4. Touch the Future - This website shows play as a science, as learning, and how important it is in brain development. It uses research to back up the evidence and hit home with the importance of play. http://ttfuture.org/play/early_brain

5. Help Me Grow - This local organization helps parents and their children develop crucial skills that help them develop and grow. From motor skills to pre-academic and brain development, they help families free of charge.
Erie County Early Help Me Grow
Kaleidoscope Center
4405 Galloway Rd.
Sandusky, OH 44870
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