Date of this Version
Gerdes, J., Durden, T., & Poppe, L. (2013, June). Play and Learning in the Primary Years. NebGuide G2200. University of Nebraska–Lincoln Extension, Institute of Agriculture and Natural Resources.
During the school day, there should be opportunities for children ages 3-8 to gain a deeper understanding of academic concepts through play. Children’s play needs to be encouraged as an essential part of their healthy development. A wide variety of play experiences is necessary to develop a complex and integrated brain.
Research collected as part of the report Crisis in the Kindergarten: Why Children Need to Play in School (2009) shows that children are spending fewer than 30 minutes a day in purposeful play or choice time in the kindergarten classroom, even less in grades 1-3. In contrast, young children are spending four to six times longer on formal math and reading instruction.