A new report puts a call to arms out for doctors to tell parents that playtime is a must.

By Perri Ormont Blumberg
August 22, 2018
Child and Adult Playing in Yard
Credit: Klaus Vedfelt/Getty Images

Sure, you know childhood playtime is fun, but it's also key for mental and physical health.

The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) have released a new clinical report this week, "The Power of Play: A Pediatric Role in Enhancing Development in Young Children," touching on the importance of building playtime into everyday life. "Play is not frivolous: it enhances brain structure and function and promotes executive function (ie, the process of learning, rather than the content), which allow us to pursue goals and ignore distractions," the abstract notes, adding that play can help with fighting stress and encouraging healthy child development.

Play can come in the form of outdoor activity (like hopscotch, throwing a Frisbee, or playing in your backyard), or creative play (such as drawing, playing a board game, or solving a puzzle) and "make-believe" activities.

"Play is really brain building because it has all kinds of effects on brain structure and function," the report's lead author, Dr. Michael Yogman told CBS News. "Executive function skills, learning to persist on a task, learning to solve problems, learning to be flexible about how they are learning things. It's how we learn, not what we learn." The AAP and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention advise that children participate in at least one hour of physical activity per day, and one hour of "simple, creative play," as CBS News puts it.

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Of course, a formal definition of "play" doesn't exist, and the concept represents different things to different people. But rounding up the kiddos for a round of soccer in the park or a fun group art activity? Go for it — and daily.