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Want Smarter Kids? Tell Them To Go Play!

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From Health24:

“It’s hard to tease apart the exact reason for this association,” said Becky Hashim, an attending clinical psychologist and assistant professor in the departments of psychiatry and pediatrics at the Children’s Hospital of Montefiore, in New York City.

“It may be that the children are getting more oxygen. When the heart and lungs are working at a higher capacity, it may allow the brain to work at peak performance. Children who are less fit may be sleepier during school,” she noted. “I personally feel that there’s probably a strong relationship between the confidence you get from being able to do something physical well and academic performance.”

It seems like a no-brainer to me, both as a teacher and a mother. Kids do better when they’ve had a chance to get outside and run around.

Schools in Finland know this: Finnish elementary school children receive an average of 75 minutes of recess a day compared to only 27 minutes in the United States. Essentially, they take a 15-minute break after every class.

And yet, as more and more studies emerge showing a clear link between fitness and better grades, itís getting harder for children in the U.S. to get any exercise at school. Forty percent of schools across the country have either cut down on recess time or gotten rid of it altogether.

So it would be good if school administrators in the U.S. paid attention to this report. Increasing and improving recess, physical education, after-school physical activity and sports, are all great ideas for improving cognitive development, including grades, memory and concentration.

Across the U.S., scoring well on standardized tests has become the solitary goal for many school administrators. Can we please pay attention to studies like these, and get back to what makes sense?

 

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37 comments

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8:01AM PDT on Oct 9, 2012

sounds obvious to me!

11:50AM PDT on Sep 9, 2012

Whether it's middle school children or younger, we need to get our kids out to play! Fresh air and exercise are important for the mental and physical health of our kids and this study shows that children even do better in school when they play outdoors. If schools are running out of time in the school day for recess, let's make sure our kids get time for outdoor play when they get back home.

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11:41AM PDT on Sep 9, 2012

Good article!

1:46AM PDT on Aug 15, 2012

I wish more people realized how important this is, not just in the US, but also here in Europe, Finland is a great example and inspiration, but many countries are far behind on this matter.

8:56PM PDT on Aug 13, 2012

playtime is an important part of growing kids

5:21PM PDT on Aug 13, 2012

Thanks.

5:21PM PDT on Aug 13, 2012

Thanks.

4:46PM PDT on Aug 13, 2012

And not with the video games either get their behinds outside and let them run themselves ragged playing and have fun..They will also sleep much better at night and feel more rested in the morning ready to put on their thinking caps in school!!!

3:42PM PDT on Aug 13, 2012

Thanks for the article, but this is nothing new

2:35PM PDT on Aug 13, 2012

Playtime is very important for a child's development. Thanks Judy.

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