I found this great resource for teens, families and educators on twitter, anniefox.com. I really enjoy her podcasts and I watched this one recently that is right in line with my thinking about the importance of play. She spoke with a brain development specialist and educator, Deborah McNelis. The highlights:
Improving brain development does not mean pushing kids to learn more at younger ages.
A child needs to have their basic physical needs met, they must be safe, they need to have loving interactions and plenty of PLAY for healthy brain development.
Play means learning through experiences, experimentation, movement, and trial and error.
You don’t need to do structured activities to support healthy brain development. The best thing you can do is be aware and integrate play into every day.
Encourage children to evaluate themselves rather than having them depend on adult praise.
Focus on the positives - pay attention to what your child is capable of, the things that you love about their personalities, and try not to compare.
I hope you enjoy the podcast!!