The importance of play in promoting healthy child development and maintaining strong parent-child bonds

Kenneth R. Ginsburg, Donald L. Shifrin, Daniel D. Broughton, Benard P. Dreyer, Regina M. Milteer, Deborah A. Mulligan, Kathleen G. Nelson, Tanya R. Altmann, Michael Brody, Michelle L. Shuffett, Brian Wilcox, Carolyn Kolbaba, Veronica L. Noland, Marjorie Tharp, William L. Coleman, Marian F. Earls, Edward Goldson, Cheryl L. Hausman, Benjamin S. Siegel, Thomas J. SullivanJ. Lane Tanner, Ronald T. Brown, Mary Jo Kupst, Sally E.A. Longstaffe, Janet Mims, Frances J. Wren, George J. Cohen, Karen Smith

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

710 Scopus citations


Play is essential to development because it contributes to the cognitive, physical, social, and emotional well-being of children and youth. Play also offers an ideal opportunity for parents to engage fully with their children. Despite the benefits derived from play for both children and parents, time for free play has been markedly reduced for some children. This report addresses a variety of factors that have reduced play, including a hurried lifestyle, changes in family structure, and increased attention to academics and enrichment activities at the expense of recess or free child-centered play. This report offers guidelines on how pediatricians can advocate for children by helping families, school systems, and communities consider how best to ensure that play is protected as they seek the balance in children's lives to create the optimal developmental milieu.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)182-191
Number of pages10
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2007
Externally publishedYes


  • Adolescents
  • Children
  • College
  • Mental health
  • Parents
  • Play
  • Resilience
  • Schedules

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health


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