Fridays with Franky: Play Is The Healthy Way To Be!
Hi Everyone, it’s me, Franky WeHaKee! Thanks so much for joining me today. I really appreciate it! As a dog, I love to play. Mainly, because it’s fun. But more importantly, because it is really good for the mind and body.
Unfortunately, today’s children are experiencing a serious lack of play time. Sadly, this play deficit is not only having a significantly negative impact on the physical health of our children (for example, the major spikes in obesity rates among our children and youth), it is resulting in a frightening decline in the mental health of our kids. The rates of anxiety and depression among our youth have been increasing since the late 1950’s and are only racing higher and higher.
Play appears as such a simple concept which is probably why it is often not taken seriously by those making decisions about the ‘proper’ developmental opportunities for our children. Behind that deceptively simply surface lies a very complex and important element to successful youth development. Play is actually a child’s effective and efficient way to learn about the world around her/him.
Perhaps in the spirit of improving the education of our children to keep our kids in sync with those around the world, we forgotten that the children we are educating are just that, children. We have pushed the classroom, one size fits all educational mode on our kids at younger and younger ages as if they are simply small adults that we can simply fill with knowledge and send them on their way to become larger and successful adults.
I admit that is a bit of a simplistic perspective, but the bottom line is that play is important. More and more research is confirming that children absolutely need play to grow up to not only be successful, but to be socially and emotionally well-balanced and mentally healthy!
Author and youth development researcher, Peter Gray, Ph.D. has explored in great depth the importance and value of play. In an article in Psychology Today, The Decline of Play and Rise in Children’s Mental Disorders (Jan. 26, 2010), Gray shares his views on the detrimental effects of the loss of play in today’s children. He points to a marked increase in anxiety disorders and depression among our youth. With solid research backing her correlates these increases in mental health disorders directly with the decline in play.
“Free play and exploration are, historically, the means by which children learn to solve their own problems, control their own lives, develop their own interests, and become competent in pursuit of their own interests.”
Peter Gray, Ph.D.
One of the most effective antidotes to the demise of play in our children is the camp experience. WeHaKee Camp for Girls embraces countless opportunities for our campers to play. This play is tremendous fun, but it is also extremely effective in helping children grow socially, emotionally and intellectually. So help your children grow up physically and mentally healthy – Send them to camp! Have a great weekend everybody!