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A growing number of studies have documented the importance of play, with some research linking free or child-directed play to improvements in a child’s ability to develop cognitive skills such as organization and long-term planning. But daily informal play appears to be on the decline in the United States based on numerous factors, including schools’ focus on academic learning and efforts to improve test scores, parents’ desire for structured activities for their children and concerns about safety, and the introduction of television, video games, and computers. In the United States, children’s play has not been seen as a priority, as evidenced by the lack of play opportunities for many children. The United States is the only United Nations member state not to have ratified the ...

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