Something A Little Different, By Amber Brooke

children playingThe article that I picked to do my critique on was “The Importance of Play in Promoting Healthy Child Development and Maintaining Strong Parent-Child Bonds” written by Dr. Kenneth R. Ginsburg and published in the American Academy of Pediatrics.  Dr. Ginsburg wrote about the importance of individual play in the development of a child. The main point of this article was that “play is essential to development because it contributes to the cognitive, physical, social, and emotional well-being of children and youth” (Ginsburg, 182).

“Play is so important to optimal child development that it has been recognized by the United Nations High Commission for Human Rights as a right of every child” (Ginsburg, 182). One of the main points that were made was that children today are living such a busy life that play, an extremely important part of development, is being pushed to the side. The United Nations are so concerned about this that they have issued it a right of all children to have. As I was reading this I found it to be an extremely interesting fact, and I wish that they had gone into more detail about what lead up to the making of this right. The article did a very good job of capturing the readers attention as soon as they started reading, It gave the importance of play, without overwhelming the reader with an abundance of information.

“The inter- actions that occur through play tell children that parents are fully paying attention to them and help to build enduring relationships“(Ginsburg, 183).  This was gained from watching parents interact with their children. They were able to see how this affects the children not only in the moment but also the lasting effect that it has on the child. Free-play, that plays that is solely led by the child without any instruction from adults, causes children to develop imagination, as well as work with other kids to develop problem solving skills, as well as how to interact with other kids.

I am a pre-school teacher in a Montessori school, one of the main concepts of this is that it is child led and that they have freedom within boundaries to pick what they will like to do. This causes the kids to interact with each other and develop coping skills.

We often let the kids work out their problems themselves, and the only step in when we need to. I have first hand seen how a child will grow from this. We have had students come in that have never interacted with anyone besides their parents before, these kids are often shy and unable to play with other kids without there being issues, after spending time without having an adult there to direct their every move they learn how to not only be more confident but also how to make friends. I think that the article did a nice job of giving general facts about the cause of not enough play, but I think that it would have been much more beneficial to have examples of a control group that has been able to directly prove the point they were making.

So many children these days do not have the time to play, they over committed to so many different things. There is such a pressure on parents to make sure that their child is in all of the right activities, and taking all of the courses that will set them up for success in their future. I completely understand that, but studies have shown that to “some children, this hurried lifestyle is a source of stress and anxiety and may even contribute to depression , a survey by the American College Health Association reported that 61% of college students had feelings of hopelessness during the previous academic year, 45% felt so de- pressed they had trouble functioning, and 9% suffered suicidal ideation.

There has been 57 several studies have linked feelings of anxiety and depression with that of perfectionism and an overly critical self-evaluation” (Ginsburg, 186).   In this paragraph right here they gave more factual information than they did in the rest of the article, the statistic they had driven home the point that was being made. One thing that I think would have made it a little more personal was if Dr. Ginsburg would have spoken to some of the college students that were affected by this directly.

Overall I think that this was a very interest article. There was a lot of useful information, as well as practical tips as to what parents can do to help instill the importance of play in their children’s lives. What I think it was lacking were more actual statistics and facts. It had plenty of quotes from doctors and schools, but I think that being able to give a fact would have given it a lot more weight. It was a very interesting read and I would absolutely recommend it to parents and teachers, but I do think that it could have had to potential to be much more informative than it was.


1) Elias MJ, Arnold H. The Educator’s Guide to Emotional Intelligence and Academic Achievement: Social-Emotional Learning in the Class- room. Thousand Oaks, CA: Corwin Press; 2006

2) Elkind D. The Hurried Child: Growing Up Too Fast Too Soon. 3rd 
ed. Cambridge, MA: Perseus; 2001

3) Ginsburg, K. R. (2007). The Importance of Play in Promoting Healthy Child Development and

Maintaining Strong Parent-Child Bonds. American Academy of Pediatrics, 182-191.

4) Gurian M, Stevens K. The Minds of Boys: Saving Our Sons From Falling Behind in School and Life. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass; 2005

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