Document Type

Honors Project - Open Access


Every day, children around the world are playing. There has been plenty of research on the importance of different kinds of play, but very little on the importance of the quantity of play. Understanding the relationship between educational outcomes and the amount of time spent playing would allow parents to better structure their children’s time and would settle the debate between psychologists and economists on whether play has inherent value for a child’s future outcomes. I focus on Peru because conducting this research in a developing country context broadens the current research mostly focused on high-income countries. Using child-level, longitudinal data from the Young Lives Survey in Peru, I perform several regressions to better understand how time spent playing at age five is related to test scores and grade level at age fifteen. Ultimately, I find little evidence for a strong relationship, either positive or negative. However, I do find that more play is related to better math scores for children in the lowest wealth quartile, and lower educational attainment for children in the second-lowest wealth quartile. This suggests that a relationship between the quantity of play and educational outcomes may exist, but only for particular populations. Further study is needed to carefully untangle these relationships and settle this debate.



© Copyright is owned by author of this document