Now, you may have already read about an interesting article in the Wall Street Journal by Peter Gray and Lenore Skenazy. Studies have found that American children ages 9 through 12 get less than an hour of free play each day, and that is mostly indoors. (We are not counting screen-time consumption of content created by others as play by this definition.)
I, they, and others will contend vociferously that given the key learnings derived from open ended, child-directed play, one hour is NOT ENOUGH!!!
So why is play so important?
(1 through 3 can be found here)
4. Paying Attention
Are there any play activities during which it is important for kids to pay attention? All of them, is the answer. Whether you are playing catch, card games, tag, or any other game or activity, you gotta pay attention. This learning is key to future successes in school, work, and life.
You gotta learn to pay attention. Play is a powerful teacher from whom one gains practice in learning to pay attention and learns the consequences of not doing so.