Unstructured play critical for children

The Community Coalition for Children, helping children thrive, applauds Groton Public Schools' initiative to encourage students' respect, responsibility, readiness to learn, and charity, "Catch a Wave." Through participation in the Sandy Ground playground project, they will help the community "pay it forward to build the next playground," "Groton students learn a lesson about giving of themselves," (May 10).

While learning about charity, the students could also be learning about the power of play to grow muscles, brain connections, creativity, stress reduction, and sportsmanship. Organized sports provide some of these positive results, but the best play of all is free and unstructured. Ideally children can have a mix of these as the wonderful days of summer finally arrive. Our region is rich in beaches, open spaces, and parks to explore. The hours after dinner when the whole family takes a walk or sits outside conversing with neighbors allows children the time to explore, jump rope, play hopscotch or catch.

All of these simple pleasures are major building blocks in children's increased hand-eye coordination, social skills, and creation of variations on the rules of their ever-evolving games.

The Community Coalition for Children will bring the renowned playground builder, Darell Hammond of KaBOOM! to the region in mid-October, for further exploration of building bodies, brains, and community through play. For further information: www.communitycoalitionforchildren.org

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