Play For Today – National Museum Of Childhood Report On Play

During the 2014 school summer holidays Eureka! The National Children’s Museum, based in Halifax, West Yorkshire, conducted a survey of over 2,500 children aged 5-11 years and adults to find answers to a range of questions around play and its role in the lives and development of children today.

What we found was that, contrary to perceptions in the media, children aren’t permanently glued to technology and actually have a preference for playing outdoors. Similarly, their parents really do see play as a fundamental tool to their child’s development and see it as being as important as formal education. However, limited time and anxiety around leaving children to their own devices to play outdoors has meant that the instinctive default for most families is to keep children inside.

Free, unbounded, independent play in a variety of outdoor environments such as the street, park, local woods or any open green space is out-of-bounds for many children, unless accompanied by their parents or an adult carer.
This is a major concern, particularly given that children are now subject to closer scrutiny over their academic abilities at an even earlier age than previous generations. Yet, as our findings revealed, both children and adults want more time to play. Let’s give it to them.

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