(Part 2/2. Read the first article of this series on ‘Are Children getting the right opportunities for Balanced Play?’ here)
In Part 1 of our two-part series, we took a look at how a balanced approach to play can reduce the risk of obesity and support positive mental health. In this article, we will be looking at how you can use this model of play as a tool for marketing good toys.
Free play is great for getting children physically active, even more so than during PE lessons in school. Giving children the 60 minutes of exercise per day recommended by the National Health Service (NHS) helps reduce obesity and also contributes to confidence and wellbeing.
The Balanced Play Pyramid, which recommends that the majority of children’s leisure time is spent on active free play, works a little like the Food Pyramid.
Active, social, free play is the super-food of the Play Pyramid and is difficult to get too much of, whereas screen time that is passive, sedentary, and solitary(e.g. watching YouTube on autoplay) is the sugary treats of the play diet and needs limiting.
If children fill up on junk food – which they might enjoy but have limited nutritional value – they run out of room for the food their bodies need to be healthy.
Similarly, if all children’s leisure time is spent staring passively at a screen, they don’t have any time left to spend playing actively and imaginatively with friends.
The balanced play approach isn’t about banning any playful activity, rather, it’s about making sure that children are engaging in a range of play activities that support happy, healthy childhood, and toys have a big role to play in that.
Using the Balanced Play Pyramid to market toys
In our international survey of children’s play habits, carried out in partnership with The Entertainer, The Genius of Play™, and Theodora Children’s Charity, two in five parents said that a lack of time means they struggle to give their children a balanced approach to play.
Toys that have great play value – are fun and engaging, developmentally beneficial and age-appropriate – can help these time-poor parents facilitate all elements of the Balanced Play Pyramid.
By using the balanced play approach, toy manufacturers and retailers can promote the value of their toys as a way to support well-rounded development.
- Locate the toy on the Balanced Play Pyramid and communicate this to parents, so they can see how it contributes to a healthy, balanced approach to play.
- Find out what developmental benefits the product offers and communicate this to parents. Members of the British Toy and Hobby Association can use the “Make Time 2 Play Toys as the Tools of Play” benefits framework as a guide.
- Prove your toy’s play value with an independent expert evaluation from the Good Toy Guide. This includes testing with children and ratings from our experts for each toy’s level of engagement (how fun it is!), opportunities for skill development, and ease of use. Prices start from £250 per product.
With the shift from brick-and-mortar to online shopping, consumers can search through and compare thousands of toys in an instant. Clearly communicating the benefits of your toys is essential in this crowded market. Talk to us at firstname.lastname@example.org and let us help.