I recently read an article in Marie Claire @ Play (a special supplement issue that came with my subscription over the summer) entitled “State of Play” by Joanne Chen. The article explores how more and more, research is showing that play is a key element in our lives. Play can make us happier and healthier. Taking time out of the work day for play can even make us more productive.
Chen’s article looked at four specific ways that play can make us all better works and even help us professionally:
- Play helps you focus-Research shows that our attention spans are cyclical and to get the most out of a day, we should schedule regular breaks.
- Play helps us bond-Games help us get to know each other and even help us develop social skills.
- Play makes us more creative-When we play games without any “right” answers we stimulate our imaginations and kickstart the brain storming, innovation process.
- Play helps us all get along-Research has shown play not only lowers stress levels (which makes us all easier to get along with) it encourages collaboration between people and makes for better, more productive work relationships.
The power of play can have similar effects for our students. In fact, children today need planned play breaks built in to their days more than ever. Have you seen some of their schedules? Today’s children have more packed in their schedules than ever (some have more on their plate than I do on a typical day!).
To further explore the power of play for our students and ourselves and for some great tips and ideas, check out the blogs Board Games with Scott and Because Play Matters also written by Scott Nicholson. Scott Nicholson is a professor at Syracuse University where he conducts “research on how to facilitate learning through games and play in non-classroom settings” as well as looking “at both the creation of transformative games and meaningful gamification” (Because Play Matters, About Scott Nicholson). Go to YouTube and check out Scott’s appearance on the CBS Sunday Morning.
Happy exploring and happy gaming everyone! Please feel free to share your own gaming tips and experiences using games in the classroom.