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Phi Theta Kappa Honors in Action

A research guide for the Honors in Action project completed by members of Phi Theta Kappa.

Childhood play & mental health

(Lorean, Jae, Samantha)

Theme 2: Economics of play - What are the financial, physical, and psychological costs and benefits of play?

Research question: How does childhood play impact the development and mental health of children? What are the benefits of different kinds of childhood play? (free play, group play, etc.). How are different types of play mixed to maximize the learning and skill building benefits provided to children?


  • Search the Internet, use Wikipedia, or utilize one of the library's Research Starter databases to learn more about your topic and look for synonyms and related terms to use in your searches ("Pre-research").
  • To target government websites (for statistics or government-funded studies), add to your Google search.
  • Try the Directory of Open Access Journals for peer-reviewed articles freely available online:
  • If RVCC does not have access to full text of a needed article, use Interlibrary Loan to get it. Ask Janelle or another librarian if you need help.


Potential keywords



benefit playground
children positive
cognitive problem-solving
communication psychosocial
cooperation reflective
creativity relationship
depression relax
development role
distress safety
emotion self-expression
energy self-soothing
explore self-understanding
fear skills
feeling social
"free play" stimulate
healthy stress
language therapy
learn think
memory toy
mindful "unstructured play"
neural wellbeing
neurobiology worry


Recommended Databases

Depending on the topic you choose, these databases may provide targeted access to relevant resources. Also try multidisciplinary databases listed on our databases page, or RVOneSearch on the library homepage, which searches most databases at once.