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Where is Children’s Playtime Going?

The role of activity and play in children’s health and well-being is well established. Play takes many forms (e.g. fantasy play, boards games, rough and tumble and sports) and is a fundamental developmental task which contributes to growth across many domains (including children’s, social, emotional, cognitive and physical development). For example, learning to ride a bike with a parent contributes to motor skill development, relationship security, confidence and perseverance. Playing dress up with a peer contributes to the development of social skills, flexible thinking and creativity, and the establishment of likes and dislikes (a key aspect of identity formation). Physical activity itself assists in focus, concentration, co-ordination and the capacity to emotionally regulate. The more active and engaged children are and the more fun they have, the more they learn and grow.

Unfortunately, children are increasingly less physically active and more often engaged in sedentary, passive activities (e.g. TV watching, video games) than they have been in the past. Play opportunities have been reduced through lifestyle and family structure changes as well as an increased focus on educational enrichment activities. Recent research by Deakin university found that children’s activity levels decline as they move upwards through school and that opportunities for play in the school yard are increasingly constrained by limitations to physical space and a crowded curriculum (where break periods are shortened to make way for lessons).

See following article: Alarm over slide in state of play.

For additional information on the importance of play, click here.