Children using imaginations less as more focus is put on learning new skills

 A precious aspect of childhood is at risk according to a survey of more than 1,000 parents. The research shows that a third of parents think children don’t know how to use their imaginations for make-believe games anymore. Nearly all parents (99%) believe that children need time for imaginative play but, according to 6 out of 10 parents, children aren’t given enough time and space for this type of playing.


April Fool’s Day highlighted the decline of imaginative play with fewer practical jokes played on parents than ever before. In fact 55% of parents said they had never had a joke played on them by their children. More than a third put this decline down to a lack of imagination to come up with the pranks and nearly 60% of parents thought that children just preferred watching TV or playing computer games.

John McDonnell Managing Director of Galt Toys which conducted the research said, “It’s very sad that there is concern about whether children are being given enough opportunity to use their imaginations as this is a crucial tool for learning and sensory development. Playing imaginary games helps children to try out new experiences and scenarios by using different parts of their brain and creates a safe environment for exploring different aspects of the real world. Above all it is lots of fun.”

Some parents focus more on ‘skill packing’ without realising that imaginative play is just as important for learning. The research also shows that 70% think parents feel under too much pressure to develop their children, which accounts for the drive to increase children’s skill set. Some parents (more than 1 in 10) even admitted they prefer their child to be always learning rather than ‘just playing’.


Posted in Childhood Development