Children who do not have opportunities for play are more likely to have developmental difficulties. Children’s cognitive and emotional well-being is directly related to the quality of their play. Children deprived of play display severe cognitive and emotional deficits which include abnormal repetitive or brief play behaviours, as well as deficient functioning of key brain regions.
Adults can either promote or inhibit children’s opportunities to play. An adult’s own values and belief about play strongly influence whether the adult will provide opportunities to play. Adults who perceive play as a waste of time, as frivolous, unimportant and of no value are less likely to give children time to play. The lives of children are over scheduled and over-supervised by adults or fraught with poverty and risk factors, which either way, negatively impacts play opportunities. Urbanisation has resulted in less natural environments where children can play freely and concerns for safety further shrink opportunities for play. Adults working with children, need to work towards eliminating the threats to children’s play opportunities because the benefits of play are of vital importance for children.