The free programme from Family Action and Fisher-Price offers advice, tips and activities for families, to help children develop and thrive.
The Play Programme’s five modules tackle the why and how of play and its importance for children’s early years development, helps grown-ups to understand their role in play, and provides quick and simple tips and activities to do at home.
The activities within the programme are available free of charge online, and have been specially chosen by Family Action in the UK and Early Childhood Development experts based at Fisher-Price Play Lab.
The launch comes on the back of new UK research into play commissioned by Fisher-Price showing how much time parents play with their children and what kinds of play they engage in – whether that be painting, drawing, creative, reading or imaginative role-play.
Lisa Lohiser, early childhood development expert at the Fisher-Price Play Lab, said: “The research has shown there is certainly the appetite there to help children develop skills through play. It’s a natural way to develop skills like problem solving, creativity, language and overall understanding of the world.”
The modules also include practical tips from Fisher-Price Play Lab child development experts on things such as how to create engaging play spaces; fun, simple activities that the whole family can enjoy; and small actions that can be taken to help get the most from playing together, boosting the early years development and the parents’ confidence to play.
The launch of the new Play Programme is a continuation of the 60-year-long partnership between Fisher-Price and Family Action.
Karen Woodcock, early years manager at Family Action, commented: “You can’t underestimate the power of play… but that power is only unlocked when we don’t try to turn play into work and instead recognise children’s instinctive curiosity and playfulness.”
The study also found one in 10 parents never seek out new information on the benefits of play, as they might for other things related to their child’s wellbeing, such as what foods they should be eating at what age or information around vaccinations. 65% of the surveyed parents said they would welcome help from child development experts.
Corrine Eggleston, early childhood education expert at the Fisher-Price Play Lab, added: “The top tip I’d give to any parent is to set inhibitions aside, get down to their level and be silly, talk and pretend with them. And it can also have a direct impact on their future success – for example, kids not only learn social and emotional skills when playing together: when alone they gain independence, confidence and problem solving, all of which are necessary life skills.”
Readers can access the Play Programme for free-of-charge by visiting bit.ly/familyactionplayprogramme