Sharp Decline in Children’s Unstructured Play Time Shown in New Study

Sharp Decline in Children’s Unstructured Play Time Shown in New Study

Waning could negatively impact growth and development

Over half of parents in a recent poll think that children today have fewer opportunities for play than children 20 years ago. Educators and child development experts agree that play is vital to children’s cognitive, social/emotional and physical development and growth. Yet, many parents polled reported their children get one hour or less of unstructured play time each day: 55 percent of parents with children ages 10 to 12; 42 percent of parents with children ages 3 to 9; and 34 percent of parents with children up to age 3. Almost two-thirds of those polled think the ideal amount of daily play time is between one and two hours.

Parents advocate for play time too, according to a new survey commissioned by Landscape Structures Inc., a Delano, Minn.-based commercial playground equipment manufacturer. Even in today’s 24/7 world, more than three-quarters of parents polled agreed that children with adequate free play time grow up to be better contributors to society.