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Serious Business: Why Kids Need Playtime

Posted by: Patrick Catanzariti on July 5, 2016

Serious Business: Why Kids Need Playtime

It’s not just child’s play. Reports have found that nearly half of Aussie kids don’t play everyday. Should parents be worried?

Unstructured, active play – where kids are free to imagine, explore the world around them, and get outside and physically active – is crucial for developing kids’ life skills, including social skills creativity and problem solving (Hint: these are also good for adults!). Playing with your kids will also strengthen the bonds between you, as well as being a lot of fun! Experts say that play is important from when children are infants right through to when they’re about 12.

Even though parents and grandparents believe play is important for their children’s development, many struggle to find time to actually play with their kids. This is a problem, as children are not only missing out on the chance to learn important skills, but they’re missing out on these important bonding opportunities.

Often, kids are turning to the TV or computer for amusement, rather than playing. This is because many either don’t have anyone to play with, or have run out of ideas. But before you start frantically arranging playdates, more than half of the surveyed children say they want to spend more time playing with their mums and dads.

The good news is the solution is easy! You don’t need a thing to start playing more with your kids – just a bit of time and a lot of imagination! Try to set aside some time to play with your kids as often as you can. It can be as simple as going outside and exploring your neighbourhood, playing dress ups or just turning off the TV and computer for a set time each day to encourage your kids to try something new.

Our 10 favourite play ideas:

  1. Dress-up box: a collection of old clothes, jewellery and silly hats can give hours of play! You could even host a mini fashion show to show off the creative outfits.
  2. Set up a tent inside or make a cubby house with sheets outside.
  3. Fill a table with paper, crayons and pencils, stamps, and let their imagination run wild! Or make a collage out of old newspapers and magazines.
  4. Set up an obstacle course in the backyard or through the house.
  5. Get outside and get messy! Play in mud, the sandpit or water (or all three at once!)
  6. Go to your favourite park and see how many things you can spot. Or go to a new park or area of the neighbourhood and explore!
  7. Get into the kitchen and bake your favourite treats together.
  8. Pull out the cricket bat, tennis racquets or football.
  9. Start a story – act it out or make a picture book.
  10. Get crafty: make necklaces, puppets out of socks or paint a picture!
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