The Benefits of Free Play

In this day and age where we are hearing more and more about the declining mental health of our kids, we need to come to an understanding of how changes in the nature of childhood are contributing to this epidemic. One of the clear causes has been the move from kids engaging in what’s called “free play,” to kids engaging in only adult-supervised organized sports, or remaining sedentary by spending so much time on screens. The Aspen Institute tells us that the benefits of childhood play are immediate and long term. Kids who physically play are physically and mentally healthier, they perform better in school, they are less likely to engage in drug use and other risky behaviors, and wind up being more productive as they move into the adult years. Additional research tells us that going outside to engage with friends in free play leads to greater resiliency for kids, as they learn how to relate with others and solve problems. Make it possible for your kids to play in this way.