Sunday, September 12, 2010

How important is play?

As I said in my last two blog posts, playtime and games can be and are very good for social learning and development. But just how important is play? A local friend of mine who runs the Gameboard here in Sheboygan, has been collecting a great deal of data and shared it with me. I found these links very interesting and I'm sure you will too.

Carnegie Mellon University: (click the name) In 2007 they conducted a study of children playing games and the effect on their education. A quote from the abstract: Theoretical analyses of the development of numerical representations suggest that
playing linear number board games should enhance young children’s numerical knowledge. Consistent with this prediction, playing such a game for roughly one hour increased low-income preschoolers’ (mean age 5.4 years) proficiency on four diverse numerical tasks: numerical magnitude comparison, number line estimation, counting, and numeral identification. The gains remained nine weeks later. Classmates who played an identical game, except for the squares varying in color rather than number, did not improve on any measure. Also as predicted, home experience playing number board games correlated positively with numerical knowledge. Thus,
playing number board games with children from low-income backgrounds may increase their numerical knowledge at the outset of school.

They found that practicing number games did increase mathematical progress of the students.

The Board Game Studies Association: They devote themselves to the study of board games throughout the world. Check out their site by clicking on the name.

Games for Educators: Has helpful articles on the importance of games in the classroom and elsewhere. The site really speaks for itself with in depth information, game finders, and a forum. To really learn the impact of games and their importance, browse this site!

Dr. Stuart Brown: Tells us in the video on the link about how play affects psychology. A very interesting and informative video.

With respect to my friend, I still haven't gotten through all the information she gave me. But I wanted to get this out here because it's important and supportive information to the use of games. For great places to find games be sure to check out the blog I wrote just before this one!

Photo: My son and one of his cardboard cities. How do you think organized game play works for him?

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