Playgrounds and the Importance of Play

Jul 12, 2016

As outdoor playtime has dwindled for many kids in the United States our understanding of the importance of that time has grown.

"Kids are 71 percent less involved in outdoor activities now than they were ten years ago," says Dr. Stuart Brown, founding director of the National Institute for Play. "To me it's a public health issue. The benefits of play need to be understood both for personal health, brain development, and social competency. We don't somehow see play as being connected to that and yet it is."

On this hour of Talk of Iowa, host Charity Nebbe talks to Brown, as well as Iowans who are making outdoor play a priority: Bambi Yost, assistant professor of land architecture at Iowa State University, Jan Grenko Lehman, Iowa City Schools Physical Education Coordinator, and Spyridoula Vazou assistant professor of kinesiology at Iowa State University.

They discuss the inequities that exist between schoolyards, what it takes to build a better playground, as well as how unstructured, physical play impacts brain development.