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Taking play seriously - Investing in Europe’s Future

For children, play is a fundamental need just like eating, sleeping or drinking. It is an essential part of growing up and enables children to develop skills for life. Yet despite its recognised benefits, play is increasingly under threat. We need to ensure that children have better and more opportunities to play.

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Research has found a relationship between pretend play and a child’s developing creativity

Research has found a relationship between pretend play and a child’s social competence with peers. The studies that connect pretend play to all of those positive outcomes are correlational. In other words, a socially astute, competent child might be more interested in pretend play, rather than pretend play making a child more socially astute.

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4 July

Free play improves students’ attention according to a study

Kids learn through movement. A study from the University of Virginia found that, compared to 1998, children today are spending far less time on self-directed learning—moving freely and doing activities that they themselves chose—and measurably more time in a passive learning environment. However, research has shown time and again that children need opportunities to move in class.

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27 June



Advocating for Children’s Right to Play in Relation to the Environment

Theresa Casey, President of the International Play Association

Outdoors spaces particularly natural and wild environments hold a distinct lure for children. The constantly changing, multisensory qualities of these spaces offer children a special way of playing while children’s everyday environments (home, street, neighbourhood, care settings, schools etc.) are of particular significance to them. Promoting play in the heart of communities makes neighbourhoods safer, more vibrant and resilient – more convivial places for everyone.

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4 October

Homework that makes a difference: the educational benefits of play with friends and family

David Whitebread, Director of PEDAL Research Centre, University of Cambridge

As the school year across Europe comes to an end and children look forward to their annual summer holiday break, it is a good time to review the growing evidence about the significance of play in the domestic arena, with friends and family. In particular, I want to focus on the contribution that play outside of school makes to a child’s education.

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29 June


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