The latest Royal Children’s Hospital National Child Health Poll surveyed Australian parents, asking a series of questions about play.
Key findings include:
Most parents (94%) recognise play is important for a child’s health, including physical wellbeing and brain development.
Less than half (45%) of Australian children play outdoors most days, and 80% of parents would like their children to spend more time outdoors.
Time, safety concerns and weather stop Australian children playing outdoors.
A third of parents (32%) say it is not good for play to involve risk.
Almost two in three parents (61%) often find playing with their child hard or boring, and most parents (58%) are keen to learn more about how to play with their child.
This report shows that most parents recognise the importance of play for a child’s physical and mental health and wellbeing, however, one-third say they sometimes don’t know how to play with their child and most would like to learn more about how to play with their child.Download report
The poll surveyed 2,036 parents in September 2022, who provided data on 3,351 children aged between one month and 17 years.Download questions
In the news
7NEWS Melbourne: Just 45% of children play outdoors daily | New research has revealed how many parents don’t want to play with their children. Most parents recognise it’s important for a child’s health
ABC News: New research finds lack of outdoor time for Australian children
Herald Sun: Parents too ‘bored’ to play with their kids, Royal Children’s Hospital poll finds
ABC Perth Radio: Child’s play for parents: why it’s not a waste of your time
Information for parents
- Play is critical to a child’s learning and development.
- Play is equally important at every stage of life, whether it be babies, toddlers and preschoolers, primary school-aged children and through to teenagers and beyond.
- Play inherently involves some risk and it is through managing risk that children learn and develop.
- Digital devices are often used for play and can allow children to express their creativity and curiosity.
- Children do not always need toys or equipment to play with – they can play with inexpensive and everyday items or without anything at all.
- Children can play either by themselves, with siblings or with a friend.
- Structured and unstructured play can happen indoors or outdoors.
- Outdoor play gives children the chance to explore, be active, recognise and solve problems, test physical limits and grow confidence.
- Kids Health Information Fact sheet: Play
- Raising Children Network: Babies play and learning
- Raising Children Network: Toddlers play and learning
- Raising Children Network: School-age play, media and technology
- Raising Children Network: Raising Children Network: Preschoolers play and learning
- Raising Children Network: Play Australia
- Playgroup Australia
- National Association for the Education of Young Children: 10-things-every-parent-play