At what age should kids stop spending the majority of their time playing and instead focus on “learning”?
First of all, learning is a form of play when we are learning things in which we are interested or about which we have a passion. Denying ourselves the joy of learning something for the fun of it is a very puritanical notion. Schools tend to do this as well; learn misery young, kids, because that’s what life is all about. Wouldn’t our world be better if we didn’t believe that quite so readily?
Second, play is an essential part of being human. Essential as in vital to our health and existence. If it wasn’t, we wouldn’t still do it. A book I recently read on the evolution of our species said that evolution is lazy. It only adds the bare minimum necessary for survival, and it only keeps what is essential to the same.
Which means there must be some reason that humans play, beyond the fact that it is fun.
Cramming our heads with facts and restricting play so that we can prove we are smart – mostly on tests – is futile if we are miserable, grow old young and die decrepit.
Don’t believe me? Well I could provide links here to several articles on the importance of play in brain development, health and general well-being, but this video says it so much better.
Watch it, and then go climb some monkey bars!