In an article in Creativity Research Journal, Jessica Dillon and Sandra Russ report that:
“children’s use of imagination in play and their overall comfort and engagement with play activities actually increased over time. In addition, the results suggested that children today expressed less negative feelings in play. Finally, their capacity to express a wide range of positive emotions, to tell stories and to organize thoughts stayed consistent.”
In addition, they find “that children who exhibit good play skills with imaginative and emotional play situations have shown better skills at coping, creativity and problem solving,” and “even with the lack of time to play, children, like some other forms of higher mammals, have a drive to play and always will find ways to do it.”
The truth of these observations is one to which any parent of a pre-schooler can attest. Play is what children do, regardless of parental preferences. It is also a truth that is useful to remember whenever you find yourself amongst adults indulging in bemoaning sessions regarding the negative influence of videogames and other crimes of modernity on their children’s play.
Here’s a video recapitulating these findings: