Evidence That It Works
A longitudinal study of 77 first graders in two diverse urban American schools found that playing games at recess predicted greater social competence, including being liked by peers and reciprocal friendship, at the end of the school year as compared to the beginning, especially for boys. This finding supports decades of research that links games and play to children’s social development.
Why Does It Matter?
Positive peer relationships are key to long-term student well-being and academic success. Students who tend to be accepted rather than rejected by their peers exhibit strong social skills, such as cooperating, negotiating, communicating, and compromising. Playing games that require students to demonstrate kindness and cooperation helps students to both practice these skills and to foster stronger bonds with their fellow players.