Impact of Play on Child Well-Being

Impact of Play on Child Well-Being

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Impact of Play on Child Well-Being

Overview of the Study

Numerous studies outline the importance of play, structured or unstructured, indoors or outdoors, on the healthy development of children. Play is known to offer sufficient cognitive, social, emotional and physical benefits. Scientific literature also outlines that as children grow, the type of play evolves for the acquisition of higher-level intelligence and motor skills. Therefore, different types of play occur during child growth, which implies different effects on development and wellbeing. The variance illustrates the need to comprehensively review the different types of play, at which stages they occur and their influence on overall development. The research hypothesizes that the conceptualization of play in modern children has changed with the emergence of the digital age. Television, social media, radio and toys might be influencing the scripts and spaces used for child play. While children might still use the same pathways for play, they now have access to diverse play resources, environments and games, implying new and different developmental implications.

Educators, guardians and parents must create environments that allow children to engage in all types of play for holistic development. According to Meyer et al. (2019), strategies to create and establish national data sets of child wellbeing indicators in clinical science are scarce. The lack of signals people consider universal for positive development highlights a gap in systematic play research. Moreover, existing papers have different approaches to how wellbeing is conceptualized. Most of the past papers focus on play’s physical, emotional and cognitive implications (Meyer et al. 2019). But little primarily evaluate the notion of wellbeing. The proposed paper hypothesizes there have been drastic changes in the forms of play (evolution of play), resulting in new implications for child development and wellbeing. The changes in play could be reinforcing or weakening some of the already identified impacts of play on child wellbeing.

Background Information

            Current practice on child play is based on a historical perspective of play. Geneser (2022) describes how philosophers have expounded on theories of play through the ages, including the emergence of social reformers in the late 1800s. The overviews focus on the value and implications of play deprivation. The approach explains why current educators are well familiar with the theories of Freidrich Froebel, John Locke, Jean-Jacques Rousseau and John Cornelius (Geneser, 2022). The problem with the conventional approach is outdated child study movements still influence it. Children no longer prefer playing in outdoor gymnasiums, characterized by sand gardens and play props. Children tend to change this preference as their cognitive abilities develop and they start to get a better understanding of digital media. The changes are associated with different developmental consequences that future research should expound.

Play and childhood wellbeing are widely applied concepts, yet they have a weak theoretical foundation. Existing practice does not reflect the reality of the contemporary play environment or perception (Geneser, 2022). For instance, parents no longer allow their children to engage in dangerous things like tree climbing. Playtime has transformed so much that children might not be benefiting from their creativity. Changes in how children play or perceive play equally imply a different conceptualization of wellbeing. Effective practice stems from finding the best ways to deliver care, nurture and learning that meet the unique interests and needs of an individual child. Acknowledging the evolution of child play should be followed by identifying the additional requirements children will need to access to ensure positive development as their peers.

Purpose of the Research

            The study aims to expound on the impact of child play on wellbeing through a contemporary purview of child play, play time and play environment. As aforementioned, there is a gap in national data sets of child wellbeing indicators (Meyer et al. 2019). The initial basis for earlier studies was to cover children’s situations and problematic behaviours at a country or regional level. The aim was to foster positive development by including appropriate preventive measures and promoting outdoor play. The result was an expansive information system with narrow perimeters for data analysis. There is a need to update society’s contextual understanding of child play, including the evolution of play, for a better understanding of its impact on child play.

The investigation into the effect of child play will correspond with other studies highlighting changes in what is nowadays considered acceptable play. The report will explore what other psychologists, nurses, and paediatricians perceive to be the implications of digital play. The paper will highlight the need for further review of contemporary play spaces and types of games through a mixed-method research approach. The outcomes of the study will pave the way for the future strategic promotion of child playfulness and happiness. Toys, gadgets and fixed playgrounds might contribute to children’s negative health outcomes. Such knowledge gaps should be put to the test using in-depth and controlled studies.

Significance of the Research

            Children must be exposed to various types of play and situations to ensure holistic emotional, physical and intellectual development. While it was easier to observe or establish what the older generations considered fun, today’s information overload increases the difficulty in determining what kids consider fun. Therefore, there is a limited understanding of the implications of play. Given household access to digital technology and resources differs from household to household, the research will make class and cultural influences on child play and wellbeing more evident. According to Sando (2019), a problem in child development literature is the multi-dimensional aspect of child wellbeing. By covering the evolution of child play and changes in its effects, the research helps expound on the multi-faceted aspect of child wellbeing. Such a feat is achieved by incorporating the views and perceptions of children in the study.

            The study’s outcomes will provide insight into the maximized use of technology as an incentive for children to engage in outdoor play. Changes in child play and play spaces should not result in the complete eradication of technology but rather a controlled and guided use of digital resources (Lee et al. 2020a). Parents will learn about the need to ensure children benefit from their own creativity by using technology to facilitate experimental learning. On the other hand, the evolution of play contains policy suggestions for children’s fitness, nutrition and play design at home and school. The safety that comes with digital technologies should not impede reasonable risk-taking in children as it is critical to their growth, development and wellbeing.


  1. Explore the evolution of child play in today’s digitally prevalent society to identify new common plays in the digital environment.
  2. Investigate children’s views and perspectives on what it means to be healthy and well (Answer if wellbeing is accurately conceptualized in existing literature).
  3. Investigate the impact of the new forms of play on child development and wellbeing.
  4. Provide specific solutions and recommendations for reflecting on practice focused on child play.


The paper will employ a mixed-method research method to quantify the implications of play on child development while offering corresponding behavioural and cultural subtexts. The first experiment entails a thematic metadata analysis that evaluates the evolution of play and perceptions of wellbeing in children. The research will draw from recent research articles derived from the University’s academic database and other applicable scientific repositories, such as PubMed and EBSC Host. The research will employ the University’s ethical board to acquire informed consent from all identified participants for the second section of the research. A sample of no less than 200 randomly controlled observations will be conducted for a multilevel analysis to highlight associations between play and child wellbeing.

Anticipated Outcomes

            New forms of play are bound to be identified with the prevalence of digital technologies in contemporary play. Slightly older children tend to remain home for in-door structured gaming or toy playing. The development will result in reduced creativity and risk-taking in the controlled group. The finding will encourage parents to control the amount of time children spend on digital gadgets in favour of outside play. Children and adults will provide different perceptions of what it means to be well. The different styles of play will influence the children’s understanding of wellbeing. For instance, digital play is a form of solitary play that will result in children not understanding the importance of verbal cures, such as eye contact in social interactions (Lee et al. 2020b). The long-term impact is reduced emotional intelligence, which indicates incomplete wellbeing.

Road Map

  1. Chapter 1 offers an introduction that covers the concepts of child play, positive reinforcement and child development.
  2. Chapter 2 is a literature review assessing recent conceptualizations of wellbeing and scientific findings on the relationship between child play (structured vs. unstructured, indoor vs. outdoor) and child development and wellbeing.
  3. Chapter 3 expounds on the research methodology, including data collection and analysis techniques, instrumentation and error reduction.
  4. Chapter 4 covers the organization and discussion of findings, relating them to highlighted research questions and objectives.
  5. Chapter 5 is the conclusion and recommendations section. The chapter provides practical implications of the research, limitations of assumptions and directions for future research.


Geneser, V. L. (2022). Scholarly snapshots: The importance of child play as a human right. Rowman & Littlefield.

Lee, R., Lane, S. J., Tang, A., Leung, C., Louie, L., Browne, G., & Chan, S. (2020a). Effects of an unstructured free play and mindfulness intervention on wellbeing in kindergarten students. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, 17(15), 5382.

Lee, R., Lane, S., Brown, G., Leung, C., Kwok, S., & Chan, S. (2020b). Systematic review of the impact of unstructured play interventions to improve young children’s physical, social, and emotional wellbeing. Nursing & Health Sciences, 22(2), 184–196.

Sando, O. J. (2019). The outdoor environment and children’s health: A multilevel approach. International Journal of Play, 8(1), 39-52.

Umstattd-Meyer, M. R., Bridges, C. N., Schmid, T. L., Hecht, A. A., & Pollack Porter, K. M. (2019). Systematic review of how Play Streets impact opportunities for active play, physical activity, neighborhoods, and communities. BMC Public Health, 19(1), 335.

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