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Free Play as Children Leads to Adult Success

By Wendy Priesnitz

 Research published in the journal Evolutionary Psychology has found that people who recall having plenty of free time during childhood enjoy high levels of social success as adults.

A team of three psychologists from the University of Hildesheim in Germany surveyed 134 people about their childhood experiences with play.

The researchers found a significant positive correlation between ample time for free play during childhood and adult social success. Free time as kids was also linked with high self-esteem, adaptivity, and the flexibility to adjust one’s goals.

While “it goes without saying that child play is not the sole, nor perhaps even the most important predictor of social success … the correlation we found in this study was surprisingly high,” the researchers write in their article.

This research reminds us of something I and many others have written about in this and other magazines: Some of the least formal and most spontaneous learning experiences are the best ones.

Wendy Priesnitz, editor

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