Parents are taking a stand against technology when it comes to children’s playtime, according to a new poll from Playmobil.
Research carried out by the toy firm has revealed that parents are battling to make sure imaginative games, such as role-play, don’t become a thing of the past as electronic toys become more popular.
The poll revealed that nearly three quarters of parents are worried that imaginary games are waning in popularity among their children as TVs, computer games and electronic devices take over play time.
The research, which targeted 1,500 parents of five to 11 year olds, also found that eight in ten parents wished their children used their imagination more. The same survey revealed that 93 per cent of parents said they actively try to steer children away from gadgets.
One third of the parents interviewed wished their children were more interested in activities like playing in the woods, while three in 10 of the mums and dads wanted their youngsters to take it upon themselves to make things out of cardboard boxes or empty bottles.
However, parents did confess that constraints on their own lives made it difficult to create an imaginative environment. Four in 10 parents confessed to lacking the time to create an environment in the home where their children can be more imaginative.
Jamie Dickinson, marketing manager at Playmobil, said: “Imagination is such an important part of childhood, and something that as parents, we all want to nurture in our children.
“However, with the rise of technology there are now more options than ever for children when it comes to choosing how to spend playtime. It is sometimes hard for parents to get children to spend time away from the computer or TV screen and use their imagination to create their own world using toys like Playmobil, but it is a vital part of play.”
The study also showed that a quarter of parents said their children can be reluctant to play on their own and turn to tech like smartphones or tablets to entertain them.
Dr Claire Halsey, clinical psychologist and child development and independent parenting expert, worked with Playmobil to investigate the results.
“First and foremost it is important to remember that play is for fun. Play is the everyday work of children and it is how they explore, learn and satisfy their own curiosity about their world.
“With so many positive areas of learning and development linked to play, it’s no surprise that it’s important for parents to ensure their child experiences a wide variety of play.
“There is clear evidence over the past couple of generations that the balance has tipped away from traditional games and time spent being active outdoors towards more time indoors in electronic play.
“But striking the right balance is key for children’s development in a multitude of ways and parents play the central role in making good decisions.”