The Essence of Unstructured Play

Everyone has heard someone say, “the kids of today are growing up too fast.” You may have even made this statement yourself. The world we grew up in as children and the experiences that we encountered are unlike the experiences that our kids may face. This may be concerning to us, but perhaps these fears are influencing the quick rate at which our children are growing up. Living life in the fast lane can often result in spending less quality time with family and spending more time at work or concentrating on things outside of our homes.

Accordingly, when family time is available, it is not spontaneous but planned, and occurs indoors to ensure that every precious moment is used to bond. Plus, safe, quality outdoor spaces for kids to enjoy are few and far between with the increasing rate of urbanisation. As a result, free time is spent in front of the TV.

Are children losing the essential art of unstructured play as a result?

We interviewed 1500 moms with who had kids aged 12 or younger in 10 different countries* to unearth their opinions of unstructured play and gain a true measure of their concerns. to OMO asked moms if the idea of their kids growing up too fast was universal, to gauge their opinions of unstructured play and gain a true measure of their concerns.

In collaboration with Dr Jerome Singer & Dr Dorothy Singer, the results of these conversations were analysed and published in the report ‘Giving our Children the Right to be Children’.

Losing the art of play:

The impact

Research shows that a distressing 1 in 2 moms (52%) across the world believe that childhood, as they identify it, is over. Conversely, 77% are concerned that the kids of today are growing up far too quickly. Moms also identify that limited unstructured play and an increase in idle activities can impact the health of their children: • 62% agree that it is no surprise that kids are overheavy today, and • 37% are worried that their own children don’t play enough to be considered physically healthy.

Despite their core daily struggles, mums want to overcome these difficulties with unstructured play so that they can protect and reclaim ‘childhood’ for their own kids and future generations by seeking out opportunities that uplift their children with the benefits and exciting experiences of play.

Working with experiential play and child development experts, OMO’s Dirt is Good initiative has developed a bank of indoor and outdoor activities for your kids that promote both education and fun. *Interviews were lead in United States, United Kingdom, Argentina, Brazil, France, Thailand, China, India, Turkey and South Africa.