A nation wide study has shown that classic playground games are best for child development when it comes to skills for succeeding in school and adult life.
Kerry Beymer has been teaching moms and dads parenting practices for 15 years. She recently learned that these well known games are best for giving children the skills they need for life.
As manager of the Parenting Education for Encompass in Snoqualmie, Beymer was part of a nation-wide study on the early childhood development of executive function skills. Executive function are the skills that determine growth and succeeding in school and adult life.
“Executive function is the brain’s “air traffic control system”, which allows us to manage multiple streams of information at the same time, control impulses and revise tasks as necessary,” said Beymer.
Indeed, it is believed that acquiring the early building blocks of these skills is critical to school readiness and social development through middle childhood, adolescence, and into early adult life.
And the best way to develop executive function skills?
Through games such as Red Rover, Red Light-Green Light, and Simon Says — things most adults have played, she said, but have fallen out of style with the advent of electronic games.
Examples of developing executive function skills in young children, Beymer said, include a number of things, many of them simple.
• Back-and-forth, “serve-and-return” interaction between young children and adults, in which adults notice and respond to children’s efforts to vocalize and engage in playful activities.
• Play in which children are able to take on roles and “play out” a developed scenario that is supported by teachers.
• Structuring a daily schedule that allows time for children to use their developing skills, and allowing children to practice these skills with adult supervision but without adult intrusion.