As parents and teachers strive to provide increasingly organized learning experiences for children, the opportunities for free play is becoming less of a priority. Ironically, it is through active free play where children start to build many of the foundational life skills they need in order to be successful for years to come.

Preschool years are not only optimal for children to learn through play, but also a critical developmental period. If children are not given enough natural movement and play experiences, they start their academic careers with a disadvantage. They are more likely to be clumsy, have difficulty paying attention, trouble controlling their emotions, utilize poor problem-solving methods, and demonstrate difficulties with social interactions.

If children were given ample opportunities to play every day with peers, there would be no need for specialized exercises or meditation techniques for the youngest of our society. They would simply develop these skills through play. That’s it. Something that doesn’t need to cost a lot of money or require much thought. Children just need the time, the space, and the permission to be kids.

Some Facts:

  • Young children learn best through meaningful play experiences, yet many preschools are transitioning from play-based learning to becoming more academic in nature.
  • Before the age of 7 years –  ages traditionally known as “pre-academic” – when children desperately need to have a multitude of whole-body sensory experiences on a daily basis in order to develop strong bodies and minds.

The number of American children who say they love reading books for fun has dropped almost 10% in the last four years, according to a US study, with children citing the pressure of schoolwork and other distractions.

The survey of 2,558 US parents and children found that only 51% of children said they love or like reading books for fun, compared to 60% in 2010. According to the report, 37% of children said they like reading a little, and 12% said they did not like it at all.

The report found that a six to 11-year-old child is more likely to be a frequent reader if they are currently read aloud to at home, if they were also read aloud to five to seven days a week before starting nursery, and if they are less likely to use a computer for fun.

According to the report, 54% of children up to the age of five are read to at home five to seven days a week, with this declining to 34% of six to eight-year-olds, and 17% of nine to 11-year-olds. But 40% of six to 11-year-olds who are not read to told researchers they wish their parents had continued reading aloud to them.

“Our research shows that providing encouragement and time both in school and at home for children of all ages to enjoy books they choose to read will help them discover the power and joy of reading,” said Scholastic’s chief academic officer Francie Alexander. “These tactics will also help to motivate kids to read more books, which will improve their skills and open a world of possibilities for them in the future.”

Some Facts:

  • Students who don’t read proficiently by the 3rd grade are 4 times likelier to drop out of school.
  • 53% of 4th graders admitted to reading recreationally “almost every day,” while only 20% of 8th graders could say the same.
  • According to government studies, since 1984, the percent of 13-year-olds who are weekly readers went down from 70% to 53%, and the percent of 17-year-olds who are weekly readers went from 64% to 40%. The percent of 17-year-olds who never or hardly ever read tripled during this period, from 9% to 27%.

The primary customers of Storybook Business are families with children between the ages of 1-7 as well as “staying at home” moms and dads.