The Benefits of Recess in Primary School

Although recess has traditionally been a regular practice in primary school settings, today recess is being reduced or eliminated in an effort to provide more instructional time and increase achievement. However, empirical research does not support the elimination or reduction of recess. Research documents that recess affords many physical, cognitive,...

Rough & Tumble Play

Rough-and-tumble play, also called play fighting, is a form of play in which partners compete with one another to gain some advantage (e.g., strike, bite, push onto ground), but do so without the severity or consequences of serious fighting, which it resembles (Aldis, 1975). Play fighting is one of the...

Definitions of Play

Play is not neatly defined in terms of any single characteristic; instead, it involves a constellation of characteristics, which have to do with the motives or mental framework underlying the observed behavior. After analyzing multiple sources of play definitions, the author concludes that essentially all of the descriptors of human...

Evolution of American Playgrounds

Common usage claims broad application for the term playground including school playgrounds, park playgrounds, wilderness playgrounds, zoo playgrounds, arboretum playgrounds, camp playgrounds, casino playgrounds, dog playgrounds, cruise playgrounds, street playgrounds, rooftop playgrounds, loose parts playgrounds, check-a-child playgrounds, wilderness playgrounds, imagination playgrounds, accessible playgrounds, intergenerational playgrounds, natural playgrounds, etc. Even politicians...

ADHD and Play

Free play, in which children develop their own activities, including rough-and-tumble activities that, as the term play implies, involves physical activity such as running, jumping, play fighting, and wrestling, are increasingly recognized as essential components of a child’s development. Both human and animal studies have provided evidence that periods of...

Generating pastoral skills through work and play in the daily life of maasai children in Kenya

Pastoralists in East Africa are well known for their abilities in effective livestock and natural resource management in the dynamic arid and semi-arid ecosystem in which they live. Their ethnobiological knowledge, manifest in their skills of managing livestock and natural resources, is generated from the daily experiences of individuals in...

Getting parents involved in children’s play: Qatari parents’ perceptions of and engagement with their children’s play

The study investigates parents' perceptions of and engagement with their children's play in the context of Qatar. Quantitative data were collected using a questionnaire that was administered to parents of children aged 4-7 years old in Doha. A total sample of 240 parents responded to the questionnaire. Findings indicated that...

Motivation, development and object play: comparative perspectives with lessons from dogs

Object play occurs in diverse animals in addition to birds and mammals. Although many carnivores engage in object play in a predatory context, many non-predators do so also. Conjectures over the years on the motivation to play are reviewed dealing with intrinsic, developmental, and stimulus factors. We then report on...

Mother-Child Interactive Behaviors and Cognition in Preschoolers Born Preterm and Full Term

The purpose of this study was to examine the associations between child-mother interactive behaviors and cognition in preschoolers born preterm (<32 weeks gestation; n = 82) and full term (>37 weeks gestation; n = 53). Child-mother interactive behaviors were assessed during a videotaped free play session. Maternal education and neonatal...

The SEEKING mind: Primal neuro-affective substrates for appetitive incentive states and their pathological dynamics in addictions and depression

Appetitive motivation and incentive states are essential functions sustained by a common emotional brain process, the SEEKING disposition, which drives explorative and approach behaviors, sustains goal-directed activity, promotes anticipatory cognitions, and evokes feelings of positive excitement which control reward-learning. All such functions are orchestrated by the same " archetypical "...

What is the state of play?

My initial response to the question posed to me is that the state of play, as a scientific field, is actually pretty healthy. By this I mean that psychologists, biologists, ethologists, neuros-cientists, educators, sociologists, and others are realizing that play is an important, if not critical, aspect of life and an exciting and...

Ethological Approaches to Empathy in Primates

Given that the cognitive and affective processes underlying empathy do not fossilize, studies of the empathic capacities of nonhuman primates provide us with a critical window through which we can explore the evolutionary origins of human empathy. Specifically, the comparative method provides an opportunity to determine which features of empathy...

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