Babies & ToddlersKidsPre-SchoolPrimary School

Play helps children and parents talk about big issues

Through play, children learn to be creative and develop social skills that will help them interact with others in a positive way.

We love how children laugh while they play, and we marvel at their imagination and creativity as they have fun and make games out of whatever items they have in hand – but it’s worth remembering that play is a way to prepare children for the future, in so many ways.

According to the LEGO 2022 Play Well Study*, 90% of South African parents agree that play has an important role in children’s development. Furthermore, 95% of parents believe that play helps children learn judgement and decision-making, and 96% think it helps them be able to question and make up their own minds.

When it comes to skills needed for the future world of work, 88% of parents agree that play helps build resilience and emotional intelligence, while 95% agree that it helps build leadership skills and critical thinking.

Importantly, 93% of parents believe that toys can help children learn about diversity, and 89% of them think that toy companies have a role in creating a tolerant society though inclusive toys. Toys can help facilitate conversations about gender and sexuality that parents might otherwise not know how to initiate or facilitate, supporting the 9 in 10 parents who believe that it’s important to discuss diversity, equity, and inclusion topics.

Adding even more impact to this, 98% of parents believe that playing together builds stronger family bonds.

One of the reasons for this is that play helps children learn language and literacy, whether it’s through adults describing the toy or game to them, or whether it’s through listening to songs and poems.

“Parents surveyed also said that playing with LEGO bricks helps develop their children’s emotional, physical, social, and cognitive skills, including collaborating with others, and learning from mistakes,” says Miroslav Riha, country manager for LEGO Group in South Africa.

Play also teaches children how to communicate, whether it’s through hearing stories or participating in make-believe play. This is where they learn about their role in their family and community, and how language works.

“All these various learnings and skills come together to give children the language and social skills that they need to navigate the world around them – whether it’s to engage in day-to-day basics, or to understand more complex topics,” Riha adds. “Playing might just look like a whole lot of fun – but it’s a vital building brick in our children’s social fabric, and equips them to deal with the world that they’re growing up in.

There are so many benefits of play for children which help them with the following:

Improves Creativity

When children have time to play, they have time to imagine and create. Whether they are making mud pies in their backyard or exploring the limits of their physical capabilities by testing out cartwheels, they are developing their creativity.

Develops vocabulary and language

By participating in pretend play as well as other forms, children, especially those in preschool, can really improve their ability to speak and their understanding of the words they’re saying. Being around other kids during play can also help with their vocabulary and language.

Leads to happier children

For many children, playtime results in a happier kid. They’ll feel real joy getting to pursue their favourite form of play, checking out new toys, or having a friend over for some playtime fun.

Helps kids deal with stress

Kids will have a lot to deal with as they get older. There will be peer pressure, romance drama, friendship issues, and stress over school. Play can help them learn how to rebalance the stress in their lives and cope with the daily pressures they will face.

Builds Self-Confidence

Tackling challenges and succeeding can make your child feel like a rock star. No feat is too big or too little to be celebrated to them. Whether it’s learning how to do a handstand in the pool or getting across the monkey bars at the playground, taking a risk and eventually accomplishing what they set out to do is a confidence booster.

Whether kids are happy, sad, or scared, having some playtime can help them let out those emotions. They can take out their anger in an imaginative setting which can give them a great release that will make them feel better when they’re done playing.

*The 2022 LEGO Play Well Study builds on the success of the 2018 and 2020 studies, which were designed to provide a bank of compelling insights and data about child, parent, and adult perceptions and behaviours on different topics. A 20 minute online quantitative survey was conducted across 35 markets between January and March 2022, asked to a total of 57,374 respondents, including 32,781 parents with children aged 1-12 years old, and 24,593 children aged 5-12.


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