Bubble Math and New Play Research

Playful News Roundup

Kids in Atlanta are learning math by playing with bubbles, and new research shows that kids who do more free play have better executive function (better at organizing and grouping information).

In Emory’s Math Circle, bubbles are square and equations are cool

Sarah Trebat-Leder, a graduate fellow at Emory University, and the Children’s Museum of Atlanta are using bubbles to make math accessible and inspiring for kids.

Trebat-Leder says that many people tell her how much they hated math when they were in school.  Her goal is to become a college professor focused on teaching and community outreach such as this.

The idea is to strip out complex jargon and give kids glimpses into math and physics that help them to think both logically and creatively.  It’s a far different approach than multiplication drills.  —Emory University Research News

Kids on Tight Schedules May Lose Out, Study Says

A new study by a professor of psychology and neuroscience at the University of Colorado-Boulder shows that young children who participate in many structured activities are not as self-directed and do not have the same level of executive function as those who have more time for free play.

Executive function encompasses a range of thinking skills such as planning, problem-solving, making decisions, and regulating thoughts and actions.

“You don’t have a chance to develop those skills in structured activities and classes,” said Dr. Caroline Martinez, a developmental pediatrician and behavioral specialist at the Kravis Children’s Hospital in New York City.

The researchers emphasize that additional studies need to be done to further explore the results of this research and to consider how children develop executive function skills throughout their lives.