I remember spying the ball pit at Ikea for the first time – I was officially too old for the children’s play zone and felt quite envious because it looked like so much fun. I finally got my chance to try a ball pit when I was in my thirties and was retrieving my own children out from mounds of bright plastic balls. One thing is for sure, Ikea knows how to facilitate a good bit of play.
In 2009, Ikea initiated the largest global survey ever undertaken on play. More than eleven thousand interviews were conducted in twenty-five countries about children’s background and development to the importance of play.
The result, Playreport, details some surprising, inspiring and somewhat worrying findings. Notably, many parents feel that they don’t have time to play with their children and have even ‘forgotten how to play’. Happily, a vast majority of children would rather play with their parents than watch television (and according to one little girl, ‘playing with her mother’ includes doing the housework – I say ‘yay’ to that).
The study reinforces the value of play-based learning or a play-based curriculum, as it is known in Australian preschools.