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Free Play – An Incredible Opportunity for Child Development

It’s a dog-eat-dog world out there and the competition is tough and relentless. Every parent wants to do everything within their power to make sure their children get the right opportunities for that leg-up in life. Not a single moment can be wasted if the time can be better spent ensuring our children are being prepared for the brutal world they will soon have to face. So what is this vital opportunity that children must have that is essential for healthy growth and development?

It’s free play.

Wait, what? Are you kidding me? Isn’t that just a waste of time? Surely there are better ways for our children to spend their time that would be more productive? Not according to Dr Peter Gray, research professor of psychology at Boston College and author of “Free to Learn: Why Unleashing the Instinct to Play Will Make Our Children Happier, More Self-Reliant, and Better Students for Life“.

“Play is nature’s means of ensuring that young mammals, including young human beings, acquire the skills that they need to acquire to develop successfully into adulthood.” – Dr Peter Gray


The benefits of free play

Indeed, free play is essential for child development.  Here are some of the benefits of free play:

  • Free play helps children think creatively
  • it teaches children how to get along and to cooperate effectively
  • it teaches children how to control their impulses and follow rules
  • it teaches children how to control fear
  • it helps children learn to control their anger

“Children must be allowed to follow their inborn drives to play and explore, so that they can grow into intellectually, socially, emotionally and physically strong and resilient adults.” – Dr Peter Gray



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This article originally appeared on Education Destination Malaysia. To read more about the amazing benefits of free play, please click here.