‘Imagination is more important than knowledge’

— Albert Einstein

When the World Economic Forum creates a video encouraging children to play more, then I think it’s about time we listen. They claim, ‘to be a superhero is to lead, to host a teddy for tea is to organise; to build a fort is to innovate.’ This isn’t a new idea, there’s plenty of research out there showing that ‘to play is to learn’. Time spent building lego isn’t just helping their fine motor skills but it’s improving concentration. Role playing with friends is promoting social interaction, whilst developing an understanding of empathy. Risk management skills might begin whilst exploring in the woods. Play allows children to develop many of the skills they will need as they grow up. It provides endless opportunities for understanding the world, as well as learning how to learn.

Which types of play are best?

But what type of play are they talking about specifically? And is the type of toy important? It’s true that we need all types of play – physical play, social play, pretend play, language play, object play and even digital play. As we know, our children will have preferences. But what we really want to know is, are they all as good as each other? To some extent, yes. As long as it’s personal and meaningful, then creativity will happen.

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