Lack of play time 'harming' our children

By APN News & Media

New Zealand children risk weight and brain development issues as a new study shows nearly half of Kiwi kids are not playing every day.

The Milo State of Play report, released today, shows 46 per cent of New Zealand children aged 8 to 12 are not playing every day.

It warns that a generation of Kiwi kids will remember their childhood as one of computer games and other sedentary activities, rather than afternoons spent playing outside with friends.

The report outlines how a lack of play can lead children to become overweight or obese and also deprives them of an activity crucial to healthy brain development.

It surveyed 168 children aged 8 to 12, 406 parents and 152 grandparents that see grandchildren in that age group at least once a month.

Play was defined as an unstructured activity outside of school, such as backyard cricket.

More than one in three children said they had no one to play with, one third said they ran out of ideas for play, and parents said children struggled to amuse themselves without electronic devices.

Professor Grant Schofield, director of AUT University's Centre for Physical Activity and Nutrition, wrote in a foreword to the report that the findings were "astonishing".

"Children need to 'unplug' and venture into the backyard to let their imagination run wild.

"Let them take some risks. Let them make mistakes. This is how they will learn."


  • 46 per cent of children aged 8 to 12 not playing every day.

  • Sedentary and structured activities such as sports training blamed.

  • Unstructured play key to healthy brain development.

- Bay of Plenty Times

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