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Cognitive and Emotional Development Through Play

We some­times neglect to men­tion a very basic yet pow­er­ful method of cog­ni­tive and emo­tion­al devel­op­ment, for chil­dren and adults alike: Play.

Dr. David Elkind, author of The Pow­er of Play: Learn­ing That Comes Nat­u­ral­ly, dis­cuss­es the need to build a more “play­ful cul­ture” in this great arti­cle The Power of Play And Learningbrought to you thanks to our col­lab­o­ra­tion with Greater Good Mag­a­zine.

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Can We Play?

– By Dr. David Elkind

Play is rapid­ly dis­ap­pear­ing from our homes, our schools, and our neigh­bor­hoods. Over the last two decades alone, chil­dren have lost eight hours of free, unstruc­tured, and spon­ta­neous play a week. More than 30,000 schools in the Unit­ed States have elim­i­nat­ed recess to make more time for aca­d­e­mics. From 1997 to 2003, children’s time spent out­doors fell 50 per­cent, accord­ing to a study by San­dra Hof­ferth at the Uni­ver­si­ty of Mary­land. Hof­ferth has also found that the amount of time chil­dren spend in orga­nized sports has dou­bled, and the num­ber of min­utes chil­dren devote each week to pas­sive leisure, not includ­ing watch­ing tele­vi­sion, has increased from 30 min­utes to more than three hours. It is no sur­prise, then, that child­hood obe­si­ty is now con­sid­ered an epi­dem­ic.

But the prob­lem goes well beyond obe­si­ty. Decades of research has shown that play is cru­cial to phys­i­cal, intel­lec­tu­al, and social-emo­tion­al devel­op­ment at all ages. This is espe­cial­ly true of the purest form of play: the unstruc­tured, self-moti­vat­ed, imag­i­na­tive, inde­pen­dent kind, where chil­dren ini­ti­ate their own games and even invent their own rules.

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MindFit by CogniFit, and Baroness Susan Greenfield

We are glad to see that Mind­Fit is final­ly mak­ing it into the pop­u­lar press, at least in the UK. The pro­gram is mak­ing big news in the UK (BBC, Times, Dai­ly Telegragh, Guardian…) because Baroness Susan Green­field, direc­tor of the Roy­al Insti­tu­tion and a well-respect­ed neu­ro­sci­en­tist, is endors­ing it. We eval­u­at­ed it last year andTwo In One Task liked what we saw, based on our 10-Ques­tion Check­list. Now, remem­ber that no pro­gram is “best”, but that dif­fer­ent pro­grams can be more appro­pri­ate for spe­cif­ic peo­ple and spe­cif­ic goals, so read the check­list first and take a lot at oth­er pro­grams too if you are in the mar­ket for “brain train­ing”.

Mind­Fit is a soft­ware-based assess­ment and train­ing pro­gram for 14 cog­ni­tive skills impor­tant for healthy aging. We typ­i­cal­ly rec­om­mend it for peo­ple over 50 (up to any age, you sim­ply need to know how to use a com­put­er and a mouse) who want a nov­el and var­ied men­tal work­out.

The pro­gram has Read the rest of this entry »

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