Free Time

David Elkind, retired professor from TUFTS keeps a blog here within JustaskBaby where he still dishes out some sane advice about raising kids with lots of free, unstructured play time.  "Too Many Toys" is a good article, as is "The Young Athlete" and "The Best Toys for Tots."

Why read him?  He's got a lot of experience to back up the position that scheduling children's playtime (when and where and how much and what they play) and plying them with expensive toys and electronics is not helpful at all.  He advocates sports for fun and fitness, daily unplanned free time, and few toys--just a couple that get a kid's imagination going--like clay. Author of The Power of Play: Learning What Comes Naturally and The Hurried Child, here's his biography from the same site:

David Elkind is currently Professor Emeritus of Child Development at Tufts University in Medford, Massachusetts. He was formerly Professor of Psychology, Psychiatry and Education at the University of Rochester. Professor Elkind obtained his doctorate at U.C.L.A. and then spent a year as David Rapaport's research assistant at the Austen Riggs Center in Stockbridge, Massachusetts. He was a National Science Foundation Senior Postdoctoral Fellow at Piaget's Institut d' Epistemologie Genetique in Geneva. His research has been in the areas of perceptual, cognitive and social development where he has built upon the research and theory of Jean Piaget.

Professor Elkind has published research, theoretical articles, book chapters and 18 books. He has also written children’s stories for Jack and Jill, and been published in the New York Times Magazine, Good Housekeeping, Parade and Psychology Today. Recent articles include Computers and Young Children, The Authority of the Brain, The Cosmopolitan School, On Becoming a Grandfather, and Thanks for the Memory: The Lasting Value of True Play.

Well known for his writings, he is probably best known for his popular books, including The Hurried Child, a 25th anniversary edition of which was released in 2007, along with Professor Elkind’s newest book, The Power of Play: Learning What Comes Naturally.

A member of many professional organizations, Professor Elkind is also on the Editorial Board of numerous scientific journals, and a consultant to state education departments, government agencies and private foundations. He lectures in the United States, Canada and abroad. He’s also appeared on The Today Show, The CBS Morning News, Twenty/Twenty, Nightline, Donahue and the Oprah Winfrey Show, has been profiled in People and Boston Magazine and co-hosted the Lifetime Television Show, Kids These Days.
At university Professor Elkind fell in love with psychology. His doctorate was in clinical psychology, where he was trained as a Freudian. He took his postdoc with David Rapaport, a noted Freudian scholar who introduced Professor Elkind to Jean Piaget.

Professor Elkind has three sons and four granddaughters. He enjoys gardening, sailing and has recently taken up pottery.

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