This May is the first official “Play all May” month. The need to bring play back into the lives of our children is more important than ever.  According to,  with so many reasons to celebrate play, it’s no wonder the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) now recommends that pediatricians write kids a “prescription for play.” With technology playing an ever-increasing role in our lives, we need to establish play as a routine, not as an activity we squeeze in-between other daily commitments, contributing to the new norm of playless days and overscheduled kids. 

Play is constantly competing with a myriad of activities, ranging from sports practice, to academic tutoring, to increased screen time. The list of worthy competitors’ goes on and on but the benefits from play far outweigh the trade-offs.  In addition to AAP, the World Health Organization (WHO) recently announced guidelines for limiting screen time in developing children. According to the Los Angeles Times, as covered by C.B.S. News,  WHO recommends NO screen time for babies; for children under the age of 18 months to limit screen time exclusively to video chats; and for children age five and under to limit the amount of screen time to under 1 hour a day. Why is this important? One reason is the link between increased well-being and increased physical activity.

Play comes in all shapes and sizes from freeze tag, to laundry basket scoot, to organized games. Let’s put balance back into the lives of our children by organizing a child’s day with life’s simple necessities: love, food, sleep, and play. In recognition of “Play all May”, I have attached a short PSA video. 

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This generation is missing out. Here’s why kids need a prescription for play… #GeniusofPlay #PlayAllMay

Lisa Smith, M.A. DEVM, Teachers College-Columbia University, is an Adjunct Professor of Psychology at Union County College and an Experienced Educational Consultant. Offering customized educational workshops supporting child development through play on the Benefits of Play, Mindset and Academic Success, and Study Skills.

She can be reached at

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