There is so much more to playground interactions between children than meets the eye. In actuality, the playground is a complex social network where kids learn valuable everyday life lessons about interacting with others, social norms and independence, all while gaining important relationship-building skills.
To prove the development of children’s social skills through games and play, Bernard De Koven, founder of The Games Preserve and author of several works about the power of play, set an experiment with two test groups of children.
The first test group had been playing together for several weeks, while the other test group had been from the same class in school, but had not played together before. These kids were given a pile of scrap and recycled materials and asked to build a town. In the fifteen minutes that the researchers left the children, the first test group managed to build an entire city together. The second group had much less luck, instead fighting over the materials that they claimed for their own.
“Kids who play together work better together. We proved this 40 years ago,” De Koven said. “So, how come this is still such big news? How come we continue to be surprised by the connections between laughter and learning, games and leadership, fun and health, play and growth? Why are recesses still so short? Why are our playgrounds still so isolated, still so separate from our learning grounds?”
He makes some great points; have you considered them before? The results speak for themselves: Kids who play together work better together. Be an advocate for your community and promote children’s play, in both social and learning environments.
“How come we continue to be surprised by the connections between laughter and learning, games and leadership, fun and health, play and growth?” – Bernard De Koven