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  • Writer's pictureMiss K

The Power of Play

Nothing is as natural as a child at play. After a month of little more than eating and sleeping, infants begin to engage in play with their parents and the world around them. Characters and stories. Put together with peers, children will almost instinctually organize games and activities. Play is so basic to childhood that it is seen even among children in the most dire conditions, in prisons and concentration camps. It is so important to the well-being of children that the United Nations recognizes it as a fundamental human right, on par with the rights to shelter and education. And until recently, American children—finally free from working in the fields or in a factory, as children long had— were allowed to play on their own. In his bookChildren at Play: An American History, writer Howard Chudacoff describes the first half of the 20th century as a “golden age” of children’s playtime.

Gray and other play experts believe these changes have had lasting and negative effects on children. He notes that over the same years that recess and playtime have declined, there have been rises in majordepression,anxietyand thesuiciderate. “If we love our children and want them to thrive, we must allow them more time and opportunity to play, not less,” Gray has written

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