British parents believe playtime will help shape their child’s future career. A study of 1,000 mums and dads, of 2-8-year-olds, found they spend an average of 30 minutes playing each day to help spark their child’s imagination.
And 28 percent believe play in early years can have a huge impact on future professions – such as science, engineering, and teaching, as well as dancing, music, and the performing arts.
Nearly half (46 percent) said the role of play in children’s development can’t be ignored, with its benefits including building social skills (48 percent), creativity (47 percent), and teaching them original thinking (45 percent).
A third believe reading can help influence their child’s future, while 27 percent consider construction-related play a core driver.
Half of parents said their children are inspired by technology-based toys, while 42 percent find fun in creating and building.
And for 40 percent, arts and crafts spark imagination in their kids, potentially leading to future career choices.
The research was commissioned by Disney as part of the Wonder of Play – a global initiative drawing on Disney’s 100-year legacy of timeless stories, unforgettable characters, and memorable products – to inspire families to play together every day.
Launched together with Disney Stage Masters, children, artists, influencers, and celebrities, the Wonder of Play is supported by the Institute of Imagination – an organisation that champions the power of creativity and imagination in children, so they will learn how to build a better future for us all.
Sarah Fox, for Disney, said: “We know how important imaginative play of all kinds is for families and their children.
“Not only do they give families time to spend bonding together, it’s also key in building the necessary skills for our children’s development long after they grow out of playing at home.
“We hope our The Wonder of Play campaign helps to inspire playtime, and give families easy ways to play at home regularly.”
The research also found 44 percent feel shared play can help teach kids important life lessons.
And while 38 percent of parents think adults lose imagination as they get older, 36 percent now enjoy the “magic and wonder” of playtime with their child.
More than a quarter (27 percent) are actively trying to inspire their children’s futures and careers via playtime, according to the OnePoll data.
It also emerged the most popular time for parents to engage in play with children was, unsurprisingly, the weekend (54 percent).
But many take the opportunity to squeeze in time for play during routine activities, such as during bath time (36 percent), travelling to school (23 percent), and at the dinner table (22 percent).
Overall, 62 percent try to involve play in their everyday activities – and 45 percent feel life is too busy to set aside time specifically for play, so this is the best way to manage it.
Sarah Fox added: “Squeezing in playtime throughout the day is a brilliant way to engage with your kids at times you might otherwise be on auto-pilot.
“And these different times might lead to some emergent play – encouraging a child to experiment with food could lead to an interest in cooking as a career, for example.
“There are no hard and fast rules when it comes to playing with kids, from how long to do it, to what you should do – as long as the child is learning and having fun, that’s all that matters.”
Disney has opened a “Wonder-ful Playhouse” in London over the weekend for families to explore a series of play rooms, designed by artist Coco Lom, whose creations were inspired by children’s ideas.
Celebrity mum-of-three, Billie Shepherd, who was at the event, said: “It’s always busy in our household, and having just had baby Margot has only added to the craziness.
“No matter what, we will always make sure to set time aside to play as a family, making sure we’re giving the kids the tools they need for their future.”
Coco Lom added: “What an incredibly exciting creative challenge it’s been to design this Playhouse.
“Disney has such a big history of stories and characters to use as inspiration, and I hope that everyone who visits will come away with a ton of new and wonderful ideas to help them play more together at home.
“It’s been a joy to work on the design with a local group of brilliantly creative children, taking their limitless ideas and turning them into reality.
“Creative family play is so important for children’s health and wellbeing.”