Narrator: This is Science Today. These days, it's not unusual for children to have highly regulated, after-school activities. But is that a good thing? Psychologist Mary Gauvain of the University of California, Riverside, is looking into how children spend their leisure time and how it affects their cognitive development.
Gauvain: We're starting to make the argument that leisure time for children, and perhaps even some time that we might consider boring time, where children have to innovate and create activities on their own, as well as social engagements with others, that don't depend on some kind of tool regulating the activities, is really important for children's development.
Narrator: Gauvain is studying whether or not children's engagement in after-school activities give them opportunities to plan on their own, as opposed to having it planned out by other people.
Gauvain: We're really concerned that if children don't get practice planning outside of school, that they're actually going to probably have limited experience in developing these kinds of planning skills that are absolutely vital for all kinds of activities.
Narrator: For Science Today, I'm Larissa Branin.