I "stumbled upon" this article today. It discusses several important issues effecting the cognitive and emotional development of children; including commercialism, changes in education to minimize play, and hover parenting. A great read for educators and parents alike.
"It seems that in the rush to give children every advantage — to protect them, to stimulate them, to enrich them — our culture has unwittingly compromised one of the activities that helped children most [-play]. All that wasted time was not such a waste after all."
Alix Spiegel, "Old- Fashioned Play Builds Serious Skills," NPR, 2008.