Saturday, October 8, 2011

Benefits of less structured play

Ultimate Frisbee
A commentary by Carlo Rotella, director of American studies at Boston college, suggested kids benefit greatly from unstructured play (How to make Jack a dull boy, and Jill a dull girl).

Carlo noted that kids are learning much these days, it is just that most of this takes place in structured settings.  He argues that free play is vital to a child's mental health and acquisition of important skills, such as decision making, problem solving, following rules, regulating emotions, and getting along with others.

So, he argues we should all encourage our kids, along with our neighbor's kids to get out and play.  With all of the fear and anxiety of the big bad world that has been generated by the news this is easier said than done.  Unfortunately so many parents also seem to prefer to enroll their children in structured activities from a very early age.  And, with so many two parent working families also makes it challenging to have unstructured time outside.

I'm a big fan of Ultimate Frisbee because it is one of the very few sports that is self officiated.  Many Ultimate clubs even play without coaches.

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