Educational Research

Educational Research (ISSN:2141-5161) Vol. 2(9), pp. 1472-1480  September 2011         
Copyright © 2011 International Research Journals


Full Length Research Paper 

The influence of play in motor, cognitive and social performance in school-age children

Sheila Tatiana Duarte Cordazzo1,  Ana Maria Tomás de Almeida2 and Mauro Luís Vieira1*   

1Universidade Federal de Santa Catarina, Departamento de Psicologia, Núcleo de Estudos e Pesquisas em Desenvolvimento Infantil, Campus Universitário – Trindade 88049-900, Florianópolis (SC), Brazil.

2Universidade do Minho, Instituto de Educação, Departamento de Psicologia da Educação, Campus de Gualtar 4710 - 057, Braga, Portugal.

*Corresponding author E-mail:

Received 08 June, 2011; Accepted 9 September, 2011 


Play behavior is a spontaneous and enduring activity in school-aged children. While play is a highly valued developmental and learning asset by adults in care during infancy and preschool years, free play times are constrained in the majority of primary school settings. The present study conducted a quasi-experiment with a pre-post test design aimed to verify the influence of free play times at school in the motor, cognitive and social performance of Brazilian and Portuguese children in their second school year.  44 children (23 Brazilian and 21 Portuguese) were randomly distributed into a control group and an experimental group. Children in the experimental condition were introduced twice a week during three months to sessions of free play at their schools. Evaluations at the pre and post tests were performed individually or collectively in a classroom setting before and after the three month intervention. The intervention produced similar results in Brazilian and Portuguese children. The introduction of free play times in the school environment elicited significant changes in the cognitive, social and physical performances in both Brazilian and Portuguese children enrolled in the experimental condition. The benefits of including free play times in the school schedule were specifically pointed out in this study. Results suggested that this kind of activity is an activator for children’s developmental process and is able to increment the results of educational practices.


Keywords: Children; cross-culture approach; developmen

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