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This year, we partnered with Fundamentally Children on their Balancing Play campaign. Read more to learn about how their most recent survey shows that play is important for a child's healthy development.

We were very proud to partner with Fundamentally Children on their Balancing Play campaign this year. The campaign looks at whether or not children in the UK are receiving a healthy balance of different play activities. According to Fundamentally Children’s recent study, some children in both the UK and the US are missing out on essential play opportunities.

Balancing play diet pyramid: The pyramid is facing down. The pyramid is split into four sections. The wide section says ‘active free play, imaginative play.’ The next section says ‘team games, board games, construction, reading and creative play.’ The next section says ‘educational toys and games (including digital) quiet/solitary play.’ Finally, the narrow section of the pyramid says ‘passive screen time (TV/Solitary video games).

Play is critical for children to learn, grow, and develop. Different types of play activities provide different types of benefits for children. This means that having a balance of various play activities allows for a wide range of benefits. A healthy “play diet” consists of different types of play—with active, social, free, imaginative, child-led play having lots of benefits and passive screen time having fewer benefits. 

According to the study, the balanced approach to play suggests that active, free, imaginative play provides the most benefits for children, specifically that of social and emotional development. This type of play can be compared to fruits and vegetables in a food diet because they are all beneficial for a healthy development. The results of the study, however, show that approximately 68% of 5-8 year-olds and 86% of 9-12 year-olds do not get the recommended amount of imaginative play. Children who are not getting the recommended amount of active, free, imaginative play miss out on developing key skills. 

Many sick and disabled children in hospitals miss out on crucial opportunities to engage in these different play activities that are beneficial to their growth and development. Because of this, it is difficult for them to be able to develop their social and emotional skills. This is where our Giggle Doctors come in! Our Giggle Doctors help to address this problem for some children by ensuring that play, and all the benefits that come from it, are accessible to all children regardless of how unwell they are. They provide opportunities for children in hospitals to engage in free and imaginative play, thus helping develop necessary skills for these children.

We are so pleased to be a part of the campaign with Fundamentally Children. You can find out more about their work online here.