Sky News TV Appearance & PlaymobilUK Parent-Play Survey November 24 2013

A couple of weeks ago I was asked by Playmobil to comment on a survey they undertook about parents and child playtime and appear on Sky News Sunrise with Eamonn Holmes to discuss the survey and to talk about the importance of child/parent play and interaction through toys.


The survey produced some fascinating results, their key findings were:

  • 65% of parents only occasionally play with their children
  • 16% of Dads don't know how to play with their children
  • 32% of Mums don't understand the technological games their kids play


PlaymobilUK released a report into their survey which can be read below:

Spending quality time playing with your child is one of life’s simple pleasures for parents, but research released today by Playmobil found that 65 per cent of parents claim they only play with their children occasionally. A third of dads (34 per cent) admit that they don’t have time to play with their little ones and 16 per cent of them concede they don’t know how to play with their child. Almost a third (32 per cent) of mums said they don’t understand the technological games their children play with so avoid playing with them.

As Christmas approaches, parents are working their way through children’s wish lists of gifts. A gadget or two will be expected, but 40 per cent of parents would prefer their children to play with traditional toys like they did growing up.

The research by Playmobil, who is celebrating its 40th anniversary next year, also found that almost all parents (97 per cent) believe their children learn vital skills including social and life skills from playing with traditional toys. In fact, the top five toys that parents believe their children learn vital skills from are all traditional toys and games:

  • Construction games 61%
  • Role play 60%
  • Character storytelling 53%
  • Board games 42%
  • Figures and dolls 35%


Although gadgets are often popular with children, only four per cent of parents say they would like their children to play with them. Almost one in ten parents (nine per cent) even claim they refuse to buy their children electronic toys. But it’s not just parents stopping them playing, 15 per cent said their children simply don’t play with any gadgets or video games.

Fiona Barry, speech and language therapist and founder of comments on the research: “The best time to learn is when a child is having fun – it doesn’t feel like work!

The Playmobil research found that children are equally happy playing with traditional toys as they are gadgets, and whilst they can learn some skills from the latest gadgets and games, parents need ensure they balance their child’s playtime with a mixture of traditional toys and gadgets.

This will help them to develop key life skills such as creative play, language, memory and social skills, problem solving and storytelling, which in turn will help them later in life.”

The research also found that almost a fifth (18 per cent) of parents say their children get easily bored with the latest fad toys and 61 per cent say their little ones get addicted to gadgets.

Over half (51 per cent) say their children don’t learn to play and interact with others from playing with these sort of toys, which is vital to their development. Although they want them to play with traditional toys, 16 per cent of parents admit that they find it hard to get their children to enjoy a balance of traditional and electronic toys.

Jamie Dickinson, Playmobil UK Marketing Manager adds: “Parents shouldn’t worry about how to play with their children. Just put a toy in front of them and watch their imaginations run wild. Children are naturally creative, in fact they will probably teach their parents a thing or two. Parents should simply spend some time with their children while they are playing and join in. See where your imagination takes you, from recreating classic fairy tales, to constructing a master piece or avenging the dinosaurs attack on the pirate ship.”