GeniusOfPlaylogoA panel of parenting experts and educators convened by The Genius of Play at The Children’s Museum of Manhattan found parents don’t truly understand the value that comes with play, according to the Toy Association. The panel’s findings are included in the report “The State of Play in America,” A Special Report by The Genius of Play.

The report includes guidance on the issues of concern to today’s parents and educators, including the role of technology in kids’ lives, safety concerns that could limit their independence, and the importance of recess or play breaks in aiding learning. The panel concluded that parents forget to carve out time for play and may wrongly dismiss it as “empty time.”

The panel’s findings included six insights: There isn’t any right way to play, so not all play needs to be structured or the same. Play is also considered a strategy for learning, and putting kids in a program to learn a particular skill isn’t the same as just letting them play. The panel found that recess should not be considered empty time, and that kids today are safer than they have ever been, so parents should encourage problem-solving skills to help their children make better decisions.

Learning how to use technology should be guided by the parents, the panel found, and limits need to be set with using it. Lastly, parents need to let kids lead the play.

The panel included former editor-in-chief of Parents and Fit Pregnancy and Baby Dana Points, Nancy Schulman, Kim McCall, Dr. Erik Fisher, and Leslie Bushara. The report is available for download here.