New Study Reveals Parents’ and Kids’ Play Habits

New research from the Toy Industry Association illustrates the extent to which parents are playing with their kids and is part of an overall effort to demonstrate the value of play to kids’ development.

More parents in the South play with their kids at least once a day than in any other region of the country, according to a new study commissioned by the Toy Industry Association.

That discovery turned out to be one of the study’s “golden nuggets,” said Anna Yudina, TIA director of marketing communications. For example, the study, which is part of TIA’s Genius of Play initiative that launched earlier this year, also found that while parents in the South play more often with their kids, they have the shortest play sessions—on average about 48.3 minutes. Meanwhile, 40 percent of parents in the Midwest play with their kids once a day, but they have the longest play sessions at about 52.4 minutes on average.

“We are on a mission to raise awareness about developmental benefits of play for children and to get children to play more,” Yudina told Associations Now. “So with this particular study we wanted to find out parents’ attitudes towards play—do they think it is important, how often they play, how long they play, and what keeps them from playing more.”

TIA plans to use the study’s findings to create tools for parents to help facilitate more playtime with their kids. “Our vision is to get parents and families in general to play more and give them the tools that they need to overcome any barriers that they have to play,” said Yudina, who gave the example of play curriculums.

Given parents’ reported desire to play more with their kids, yet their corresponding lack of time to do so that the study indicated, TIA plans to create various instructional programs that provide simple ways for parents to engage in play that are organized by time. “So if you only have five or 10 minutes to play then you can still find an activity to do that will benefit you and your child,” Yudina said.

The value of playtime, which often takes a back seat to busy schedules and academics, is an important topic for TIA, which represents the makers of the “tools” of play, said Yudina. Through this most recent study and future research that TIA is planning, the association hopes to demonstrate the role play has in kids’ social, emotional, cognitive, physical, and creative development.

“There are many things going on that undermine play, and with play time shrinking both at home and at school, we thought that we need something like the Genius of Play initiative,” Yudina said. “We really need to get this message out to parents, families, and educators.”


Katie Bascuas

By Katie Bascuas

Katie Bascuas is associate editor of Associations Now. MORE

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