Madison Scott and Leea Christensen, kindergarteners, play with Littlest Pet Shop toys.
BY JESSICA STEELEY
Clarkston News Staff Writer
School desks were filled with toys as students learned play is an important part of learning.
“This is an opportunity to recognize that we need to let kids just play,” said Springfield Plains Elementary Principal Matt Gifford.
Springfield Plains participated in Global School Play Day, Feb. 1, allowing students throughout the school to participate in unstructured play for most of the day.
“It’s an international event because kids just don’t play enough anymore. We don’t unleash their creativity and opportunities to be engaged with other kids in unstructured environments,” Gifford said.
Most play students participate in these days is structured, and kids rarely get opportunities to just play and make it up as they go, he added.
“Kids need to experience boredom. They need to be able to figure out how to persevere with their boredom and what could they do to not be bored anymore, as opposed to just using video game or tablets.”
This is the third annual Global Play Day and the first year Springfield Plains has participated school wide, Gifford said.
Boston College Researcher and Professor of Psychology Peter Gray did a TedX talk about the negative impacts of kids growing up without enough play, according to the Global School Play Day website. The site also states 277,000 students participated this year and they’re already recruiting for next year, with a goal of 500,000 students.
“All the schools can register on the play day website and they’re asking people to provide pictures to recognize everybody that’s participating in this,” Gifford said. “It’s really just to raise awareness about the necessity for unstructured play.”