Play in the media17-11-2017

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Here is a summary of the latest play related articles and blogs to be published online.

Children becoming less active and independent New Zealand study finds
The Guardian (Eleanor Ainge Roy)

According to a study from New Zealand, children are staying closer to home, are less independent and are doing less physical exercise. The research comes from Harvard University and the University of Auckland, Otago and looked at the free time trends of a hundred children between 11 and 13 years old in Wellington. It discovered that children spent more than 50 percent of their time within 500 metres of their home and when they left home, it was usually to go to school, their friends’ houses or food outlets. This outcome coincides with the trend that children in New Zealand are less independent and are doing less physical activity than previous generations.

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Forest schools give children a 'positive mindset towards school'
Day Nurseries (Sue Learner)

According to researchers from Loughborough University, forest schools can help children develop collaborative learning skills, practical skills and an appreciation of nature. Dr Janine Coates and Dr Helen Pimloy-Wilson from the geography department carried out the research in two school in Nottinghamshire – in one reception class and one year four class. One of the head teachers said that the forest school gives children a ‘positive mindset towards school’.

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I Worry About "Loose Parts”
Teacher Tom's Blog

The blogger Teacher Tom is worried that people are misunderstanding the meaning of loose parts play. He’s worried that adults who are involved with loose parts play are starting to treat them as a commodity to buy and sell and to keep clean and tidy. He believes that loose parts are not normal toys, but ‘rubbish’ which is there to be destroyed and made dirty. He says loose parts are the property of children and adults need to leave children alone to play with them.

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Children choose screen time as top play activity

Children’s favourite activity in their free time is being in front of a computer, tablet or mobile phone according to research by BBC Children in Need and Asda. The research was published to launch the Power of Play campaign. The campaign wants to highlight the importance of play to children’s development. As part of the research, 724 children between six and twelve years old, were asked what was their favourite play activity. It found that 84 percent of children said screen time is their favourite choice from the list, while 55 percent of children revealed that playing outside was their favourite play activity during their free time.

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Children growing up close to parks may develop better attention span: Study
Deccan Chronicle

Research from the Barcelona Institute for Global Health has revealed that children who are raised near a park or green space develop better concentration skills. The data came from observing 1,500 children over a period of ten years, examining children who lived 100, 300 and 500 metres from green spaces. Two concentration tests were carried out during the research with statistics showing that the children living closest to the green space performed best. Payam Dadvan, one of the researchers, says that it emphasises the importance of green spaces in cities.

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If you don't let children take risks, you are damaging them
The Spectator (Lenore Skenazy)

Blogger and author Lenore Skenazy says that children need their independence to make sure that they grow up to be confident adults. She states that, not only is independence important, but it’s also important that children have the chance to engage in ‘risky play’. She connects the decrease in children’s independence in the USA with the rise in university undergraduates who suffer from severe anxiety.

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Tackling childhood obesity is about more than diet and exercise
World Economic Forum (David Morley)

A report from the World Health Organisation (WHO) has revealed that the number of children between five and 19 years old who are overweight has increased tenfold in the last four decades. The campaign to reduce this increase has concentrated on two parts of children’s life: diet and exercise. The report states that this isn’t enough and children need a chance to move outside of physical activity or structured sports. The play area of children has decreased by 90 percent in one generation and the report connects this decrease with the increase in obesity.

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Science Says: Let Your Kids Take Risks While Playing. It’s Good For Them
Scary Mommy (Joanna McClanahan)

Research from Environmental and Public Health in Canada suggests that letting children play in a way that provides the opportunity to take risks helps them develop social skills, creativity and resilience. It’s important for children to take part in risky play because those who are held back from this type of play may feel less self-confident and more vulnerable. This type of play is also safer than expected, with injury rates lower than in structured sports.

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