If you've ever watched kids on a playground running around and laughing, you might think they’re just having a great time.

It's hard to imagine that something so fun could help them succeed at the more serious life stuff. But that is, in fact, exactly what playtime is doing.

Research has actually proven time and time again that regular play is integral to kids' success in school, social situations, and, eventually, the careers that they choose to pursue.

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Nike's Made to Play

I was on a mission to buy sparkly blue eyeshadow with my babysitting money.  

I was in the sixth grade. I thought sparkly blue eyeshadow was cool. But most notably, nobody batted an eye at a 12-year-old babysitting or walking alone half a mile to the drug store.

Fast-forward 30 years and a totally typical scenario from my latchkey childhood feels risky — at least to some people.

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Natasha Rossi believed she had the perfect life.

She had two awesome kids — two and a half-year-old identical twins — and the love and support of her boyfriend, Desi. Life, she thought, could only get better.

All photos via Upworthy/Walgreens.

Then, in January 2019, she was hit with some of the hardest news that anyone can hear.

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