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The value of playtime

Try sitting in your seat at work and paying attention to what your boss is saying for six hours with a half hour lunch break. How hard is that?

   Now imagine you're 10 years old. Substitute school for work, and teacher for boss, and it's easy to see why children get antsy and have trouble paying attention at school. While most teachers vary learning activities and children don't spend the whole day at their desks, educators say they still could use a break outside.

   With the prevalence of computers and electronic games at home, as well as the increased fear of strangers and reliance on structured activities, children have less free play outside of school, as well.

   One expert warns the growing disconnection could lead to a "generational amnesia" about the value of nature and unstructured play.

   No Child Left Behind — the 2001 education law signed by President George W. Bush blamed for reducing recreation time by increasing standardized tests — has given way to the No Child Left Inside campaign.

  How can society ignore the sentiments of a San Diego fourth grader: "I like to play indoors better 'cause that's where all the electrical outlets are?"



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