Why Kids Need More Playtime

Why Kids Need More Playtime

Is it time for recess?

"We just wrote for an hour, I don't want to do this worksheet!"

"My legs hurt from sitting so much!"

"I can't focus!"

These are common complaints I hear from the second grade students I work with every day. These students work hard all day and are pushed from one activity to the next in order to get everything done on time. I find myself giving frequent reminders to "focus on your work" or to "try to get this done because we only have five more minutes until we transition to the next activity." If I were in their shoes, I too would have some of the complaints above. Children need more time to play without instruction, not only so they will be refreshed and ready to learn, but also so they can preserve their own mental, emotional and physical well-being.

Many schools in the United States give only 15 minutes of recess for the entire school day. Schools in Finland give their students a 15 minute break for every 45 minutes of work they do. Many teachers and parents in the United States may look at Finland's approach as too much play and not enough time for work to get done but, as a future teacher who sees kids struggle to maintain focus on a daily basis, I believe that this is an approach that U.S. schools should look into.

I am lucky to work with a teacher that tries to incorporate movement and breaks into her routine for the students. This teacher gives her students time to be creative -- every Monday morning the kids play with blocks and every Friday these students get to let out their energy with "Friday Fun," giving students the freedom to do a puzzle, talk with classmates, draw or whatever they are not able to do during the normal instruction time. Another great break the kids get during the day is a "Body Break," which allows students to play Simon Says, try some yoga poses or watch a GoNoodle video. GoNoodle videos get kids moving when they are restless from working all day and can help refocus their energy when they get a little too crazy. Kids love GoNoodle, and finish feeling refreshed and ready to learn!

Although all of these in-class breaks are wonderful, there still needs to be a push for more outdoor, unstructured playtime for kids. When you push kids to work and work and work without a break they are going to become distracted, restless, frustrated and eventually just burn out. Many adults may think that the work children have to do isn't very hard so they don't need as many breaks or that other countries are above the U.S. in academics so there is no time for more playtime. We need to take a step back and remember that these are just kids. Even as an adult in the classroom, sometimes I forget that the work I am encouraging them to complete that may seem easy to me is actually challenging for them. Kids have so much potential and room to grow. As adults in their lives, we should be fostering their growth with playtime not setting them back with stress. With more playtime we will discover happy, healthy, determined students.

Cover Image Credit: iStockphoto

Popular Right Now

How Can An Acting Class Prepare You For Medical School?

Acting is the secret to the "Art of Doctoring"!

When you enter college with the dreams of one day becoming a doctor, there are so many classes that you have to take. You're told to take Biology, Chemistry, Organic Chemistry, Biochemistry and every other science class on earth. Then you're told to take your required Physics class, that one random English class, and a Psychology class to fill some schedule gaps. At the end of your college career, you may be prepared for medical school from an academic standpoint, but you've failed to learn the skills that will allow you to master what I like to call "the art of doctoring."

Is there any class that will help you learn the "art of doctoring"? Yes, there is!

Acting classes!

An extremely important aspect of being a doctor that several students tend to forget about is the art of connecting with your patients. Doctors have to be effective communicators in order to get the most out of their patients and make their patients understand what is happening to them. Doctors must be emotionally available for their patients. They must help their patients overcome the vulnerability or embarrassment they might feel exposing intimate parts of themselves and their lives to their doctors.

In my opinion, the best way to learn how to connect to people, how to understand other's perspectives, and how to properly access situations and react accordingly is by learning how to act. You may not be the best actor in the world; As a first-year medical student that minored in theatre, I can assure you that I was far from the label of "Best Actress". Yet, my experiences in acting class and on the stage truly helped me when we started having patient interactions. I was better able to understand others' emotions because I had learned how to, essentially, become other people and tell others' stories.

I believe that every student studying something science or mathematics based such as Biology, Computer Science, or Engineering will benefit from finding some time to take an acting class. You will improve your communication skills, relieve some stress, learn new skills, and make new friends.

I understand that the 3, 4, 5 or more years spent in college can actually go by very quickly making us feel like we don't have time. I know that there are so many other classes to take and requirements we must fill, but just one acting class can be such an amazing experience. If you still have the chance to, I suggest trying out an acting class or minoring in theatre, like I did. It's actually quite interesting to see how a set of skills seemingly unrelated to your "major" or "career plans" can make you a better student and professional in the future.

And if nothing like that happens for you, at least you experienced something new!

Cover Image Credit: news.uci.edu

Related Content

Connect with a generation
of new voices.

We are students, thinkers, influencers, and communities sharing our ideas with the world. Join our platform to create and discover content that actually matters to you.

Learn more Start Creating

7 Ways To Cope With The Stress Of College Midterms

With class, clubs, and your social life, you barely have time to breathe.

Professors are pounding you with homework, midterm paper due dates are drawing way to close for comfort, and you’re probably swamped with everything else in your life. It can get pretty stressful, especially with daydreams of spring break keep you from paying attention to important information in class. With all the work you have to do, it’s important to take a few breaks now and then, for sanity’s sake. Here are some ways that you can do that in a healthy and relaxing way.

1. Go for a walk and crank some music.

Sometimes just giving your brain a break is helpful. Trying to plow through can keep you from doing your best work. So go for a walk outside if it's nice, put some headphones in and jam out for a little bit.

2. Take a nap (we all know you don't get enough sleep).

Get some gosh darn sleep! Taking a 20-minute power nap can and will reenergize you. Lay down and set the alarm so you don't sleep for hours and then you can get right back to studying or writing that paper. Never underestimate the wonders of a nap, it's truly magical.

3. Exercise!

Not everyone likes to go for a 4-mile run, but even just going for a mile can be really good for your mental stability. It's been proven to relieve stress, and it's good for your body. Just grab a buddy and hit the gym!

4. Hang out with friends.

Sometimes you get caught up in all the papers you have to write that you forget to interact with other human beings. Go get coffee or let off some steam with some of your buds. Watch a movie, play some games, or even just talk to them, being around people you enjoy will always make your stress disappear.

5. Online shop, but don't buy anything.

Fill up that cart, look at the most expensive things, look at every single pair of shoes that a store has on their website. I don't know about you, but looking at a really cute pair of sneakers always puts me in a good mood. Then you can always get a good laugh when you look at your cart and look at the price. It's always fun to think about what it would be like to be rich. Maybe it'll give you the motivation to do your homework so you can get a job that allows you to buy all the things.

6. Reflect on your day/week.

Take a few minutes just to talk to yourself and reflect on your life. Allow yourself to worry for a few minutes, then give yourself a pep talk. Think about what you are grateful for and what you want to do within the next month or year. Sometimes just taking a minute to think can be beneficial. You never know, you might just figure a few things out along the way.

7. Do some laundry or clean your room.

A clean space to study in is very important. It's hard to get things done when your room is a mess, and everything that could possibly distract you is just lying right in front of you waiting for you to give in. And having clean clothes is always a plus. I've found folding laundry to be very relaxing. Not only are you giving yourself a break, but you're getting other important things done too!

Cover Image Credit: Her

Related Content

Facebook Comments