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Make Time 2 PlayNew research released today reveals that parents feel their children’s playtime is being limited at primary school to the potential detriment of their academic progress.

The British Toy and Hobby Association (BTHA) and Play England who commissioned this survey ahead of children going back to school this week, also found that 74 per cent of parents in the UK feel that schools are too concerned with health and safety to allow kids to have traditional ‘rough and tumble’ play which is so important for social and physical development.

Over 85 per cent of parents believe that playtime at school can improve children’s learning. However, a third feel that their kids don’t get enough playtime at school – with the average child having just 37 minutes of time to play throughout the school day.

Psychologist and play expert Dr. Amanda Gummer comments: “It is concerning that such as large proportion of parents feel their child’s school is restricting their play, and rough and tumble play in particular. While schools need to prioritize safety, play is key to developing social skills including teamwork, communication and negotiation. The playground is the perfect place to learn these skills.

Young children benefit from frequent changes in activity, especially if they have to concentrate hard as they do during the school day. Active play in school breaks means that children are refreshed for their lessons and better able to concentrate.”

Catherine Prisk, Assistant Director of Play England, said “With children returning to school this week, and the announcement of cuts to play facilities, the subject of children’s play is coming to the fore. Research shows that making time for children to play during the school day improves concentration and behaviour, and creates a better learning environment. Break times for teachers are protected by legislation, but there is no requirement for children to have time to play at school.”

The Make Time to Play campaign highlights the benefits of children’s play through the website Throughout the summer, the BTHA and Play England have been encouraging children to play more by asking parents to ‘Make a Pledge’ to allocate more of their children’s time each day to spend playing. Parents at Playday, the national day for play, in August, helped to smash the target of pledged play minutes and have taken the total to over 90 million minutes of play during the summer. It is not too late for parents to continue to pledge at




Make Time 2 PlayFigures released today by The British Toy and Hobby Association (BTHA) and Play England show that parents feel their children are not having enough playtime with the average child playing for just over one hour (70 minutes) each day. Parents would like to see this time double.

The BTHA and Play England commissioned the survey that found a quarter of parents feel they had a lot more time to play when they were a child compared to their children. Half of parents feel that their children are under more pressure today than ever before and that school, homework and extra lessons are preventing them from playing. One in ten said they feel their children have increasingly structured days and one in five don’t think their children have enough free time to just be children.

Almost a third of parents (27%) feel like time playing with their children is becoming limited due to work pressures such as overtime and a bid to impress employers and over a third (39%) would like to have flexible working time so they can spend more time encouraging their kids to play.

The research found that one in four parents find it difficult to think up different ways to support their children to play and a third (32%)would like a resource to be available that gives them ideas to encourage more play.

The BTHA has therefore partnered with Play England to ask parents to ‘Make A Pledge’ to allocate more of their children’s time each day to spend playing. Parents can make their pledge via Facebook at and will be able to receive help and ideas of what to do with the time they pledge.

The aim is to get the UK to collectively pledge 2 million extra minutes to play over the next three months. Parents can pledge anything from just 5 minutes a day to an hour. They can also keep adding time if they are easily hitting their own target.

“Play helps a child to develop a whole range of skills from learning how to take turns and share to increasing fitness, creativity and even self-esteem. Through fun and play a child learns about the world around them”, said Dr Amanda Gummer, a psychologist who advises the BTHA. “This research shows that children today are not getting enough time to play and their parents want to change this”.

Adrian Voce, Director of Play England, said “Play England are pleased to partner with the British Toy and Hobby Association to encourage more play for all children. Both organisations believe in the power of play and the benefits it has for the development of all children, such as health, learning and enjoyment. An easy way for families to pledge towards the 2million extra minutes is to attend one of a thousand events taking place across the UK on 4 August to celebrate Playday. Through the ‘Make Time to Play’ campaign we hope that steps will be made to give our nation’s children the playtime they need and deserve”.

Parents are also invited to share their favourite games and tips to inspire children to play through the Facebook page and can get lots of ideas of how to fill their pledged time at The site details the benefits of play and gives parents ideas of what to do to keep children entertained over the coming months including Playday – the annual celebration of children’s right to play on Wednesday 4th August.