Play enhances children’s development and happiness study reaffirms
A report into the positive repercussions of play in children has found that the act of playing can boost children’s development in various key areas.
The report, the Play Return, reviewed various research and studies and found that play enhanced children’s development in language, problem solving, risk management and independent learning skills.
Today’s report coincides with the 27th year of UK Playday, an annual event celebrated to promote the benefits of play, with the aim to get outside and play at one of the hundreds of community events organised across the country. The campaign was founded in 1986 and has since grown steadily into a national event in the UK.
Apart from enhancing children’s learning abilities the study also found that playing improved their emotional well-being, attitude, and physical health.
The report stated: “There is good evidence that making changes to school playgrounds leads to an increase in children’s levels of physical activity. Various forms of intervention have been shown to give this outcome, including changes to marking, the addition of play equipment, making available games equipment (such as balls and bats) and the introduction of loose materials such as scrap and recycled office equipment.”
Some studies suggested that children were often more physically active during free play than in focused sports activities or PE lessons at school.
The findings also reveal that the facilities provided for young people in public spaces often have led to a decrease in acts of anti-social behaviour and vandalism.
Report author Tim Gill said: “At the core of the report is the message that not only does outdoor play impact significantly on the lives of children and young people, it also – in many cases – can provide a basis for the transformation of wider communities.”
Joe Manners Lewis