NEW YORK -- Kids living in the South get more playtime with their parents than children living in any other region of the country, according to new research commissioned by the Toy Industry Association's (TIA) Genius of Play initiative, which aims to raise awareness about the developmental benefits of play.
In a national online survey conducted by PlayScience, an innovation and development company focused on play and learning, parents of children between the ages of 2 and 10 years old were asked how often they play together as a family. The following findings were revealed:
- 76% of parents in the South said they play with their kids at least once a day
- 46% of parents in the West said they play with their kids at least once a day
- 40% of parents in the Midwest said they play with their kids at least once a day
- 38% of parents in the Northeast said they play with their kids at least once a day
Parents admit that the biggest barrier they face when it comes to making time to play with their children is lack of time – in other words, they are "busy taking care of other things." And while many parents agree that play has positive benefits, those who devote less time to playing with their kids define play as "fun" and prioritize teaching their children values and helping with schoolwork.
"It's no surprise that lack of time and parental perceptions of play impact how often parents play with their children," said Steve Pasierb, Toy Industry Association President & CEO. "However, child development experts agree that play teaches children many important values, such as empathy, in addition to cognitive, social and creative skills that simply can't be learned in a classroom setting. Playing together as a family has additional benefits, allowing parents and children to learn from one another, grow together, and build lasting memories."
"We're thrilled to see that Southern families recognize the benefits of play and we encourage the rest of the country to get on board and make play an important part of their kids' day!" added Pasierb.
Parents can visit www.TheGeniusOfPlay.org for play ideas and tips, expert advice, and other helpful resources about play. Families are also encouraged to take the "Play Pledge" and commit to giving their children more opportunities to play. To date, more than 5 million play hours have been pledged by families across the nation. To celebrate the milestone, TIA has donated $10,000 in brand-new toys to children in need.