Let the Games Begin: Why Structured and Unstructured Play Should be Utilized in the Classroom


  • Carleigh Slater


The role of school has drastically changed over the past several decades. Standards and added subjects lead to a challenging and narrow view of education. The consequences of added pressure undermine the role of play throughout K-12 school systems. Research studies continue to describe play as vital for the success of children’s development and subsequent academic achievement, not only for younger children, but older children as well. This article explores how play and gamification utilized within all classrooms, including intermediate, middle school and high school classrooms, can provide a comprehensive approach to support both students’ academic content understanding and social and emotional development. Play-based and game-based learning reinforces intrinsic motivators which lead to children’s lifelong learning mindset and allows for students to take a more participatory role in their education.


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