September 07, 2011 Kerala Taylor

5 reasons children need to play in school

Recess periods are shrinking. Homework is increasing. Tag, soccer, and even running are getting banned on the schoolyard. Cities are building new schools without playgrounds.

Most kids aren't getting enough space and time to play during the school day, despite countless studies proving that play is vital to children's learning and health. Here are 5 reasons we need to save play in our schools:


  1. Since 1990, American creativity scores have been falling, attributed in part to the lack of "creativity development" in our schools. At the same time, an IBM poll of 1,500 CEOs identified creativity as the number one "leadership competency" of the future.
  2. Children in Finnish elementary schools—who get an average of 75 minutes of recess a day—consistently rank higher than U.S. children in International Student Assessment Scores.
  3. Two reviews of more than 180 homework studies reveal very little correlation between the amount of homework and achievement in elementary school.
  4. The decline of play is closely linked to childhood obesity; ADHD; behavioral problems; and stunted social, cognitive, and creative development.
  5. Increased physical activity during the school day can help children's attention, classroom behavior, and achievement test scores.

Join us to defend our children's right to play by signing a Back-to-School Pledge!

When you sign, we'll get you started with a PDF copy of How to Save Play at Your School -- featuring 15 action ideas for teachers and parents to make school grounds and school days more playful.


playful learning, back to school, recess, early childhood education, imagination, education, creativity