Later On

A blog written for those whose interests more or less match mine.

The serious need for play

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Play is how we learn, for the most part. I mentioned in some earlier post watching the Iowa City firemen with their new hook and ladder equipment, running the ladder up and down, climbing the ladder, and so on—clearly playing with (and learning) the new equipment. For adults, of course, we often avoid using the term "play," but it seemed to me that it was exactly the same process used by younger children: an enjoyable exploration that increases knowledge and understanding.

Scientific American has a good article on the need for play. It begins:

Key Concepts
  • Childhood play is crucial for social, emotional and cognitive ­development.
  • Imaginative and rambunctious “free play,” as opposed to games or structured activities, is the most essential type.
  • Kids and animals that do not play when they are young may grow into anxious, socially maladjusted adults.

On August 1, 1966, the day psychiatrist Stuart Brown started his assistant professorship at the Baylor College of Medicine in Houston, 25-year-old Charles Whitman climbed to the top of the University of Texas Tower on the Austin campus and shot 46 people. Whitman, an engineering student and a former U.S. Marine sharpshooter, was the last person anyone expected to go on a killing spree. After Brown was assigned as the state’s consulting psychiatrist to investigate the incident and later, when he interviewed 26 convicted Texas murderers for a small pilot study, he discovered that most of the killers, including Whitman, shared two things in common: they were from abusive families, and they never played as kids.

Brown did not know which factor was more important. But in the 42 years since, …

Continue reading. And take a look at the other articles, too.

Written by Leisureguy

1 February 2009 at 10:42 am

Posted in Daily life, Science

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