5 Reasons Why Soft Play is Essential for Child Development

5 Reasons Why Soft Play is Essential for Child Development

5 Reasons Why Soft Play is Essential for Child Development

To us adults, play time may just look like a bit of fun. But to kids, it’s much more than that. Soft play experiences don’t just keep the little ones occupied – they’re critical for helping them grow & learn. 

Soft play environments are as crucial as the classroom when it comes to helping kids grow into strong, healthy, and happy adults. Research studies consistently agree that ‘play is essential to development’ because it contributes to the cognitive, physical, social, creative, and emotional well-being of children. While parents may view soft play as a way of getting an hour’s peace and quiet, to kids, that time is something entirely different: a unique opportunity to develop their skills.

So let’s take a closer look at the role of soft play in learning and progress.


1. Cognition

A report by Michigan State University in the US shows that ‘promoting movement and activity in young children can help increase memory, perception, language, attention, emotion, and even decision-making’, suggesting that soft play could be instrumental in cognitive development.

While the exact reasons behind this link remain unclear, experts suggest that play can help improve attention and focus in children, making it easier for them to grasp new concepts and understand new ideas. Letting kids play could have a big impact on brain development and knowledge expansion.


2. Physical health

Fine motor skills are learnt by doing; through interactive, hands-on activities that encourage kids to work on the control they have over their own body. And so, something as simple and straightforward as picking up balls from a soft play ball pool can have a massive impact on dexterity and agility.

Of course, climbing over soft play shapes and racing around with other kids can also be great exercise. It can help children maintain a healthy weight and reduce the risk of developing weight-related conditions in the future. This kind of play helps exercise & activity to become the norm from a very early age.


3. Social skills

Playing with other kids of a similar age is key to developing important social skills that help us connect with – and manage relationships with – others. By being in a situation where children are expected to interact, share, and observe, they’re organically learning about social norms.

Soft play environments allow children to learn about social cues, understand situations, and even develop more complex abilities such as bargaining or manipulation. One study even found that soft play experiences can help regulate aggression, helping kids learn how to manage their feelings.


4. Creativity

We see a soft play cylinder. To kids, it might be a boulder racing down a mountain. Every child has had unique experiences, and they bring those experiences to play, broadening the vision of others. Everyone sees things differently, sharing their own perceptions and ideas with their peers.

De Montfort University & the Arts Council England launched Talent 25; a 25-year study examining the impact of play sessions on art & design. They found many parents don’t have the confidence to initiate creative activities, highlighting the importance of soft play centres to bridge the gap.


5. Emotional wellbeing

Soft play areas are designed to be safe spaces for kids, and they’re one of just a few places where parents feel comfortable giving little ones a bit more freedom. And when they have this freedom, they’re able to explore independently, take risks, and start building confidence and resilience.

One study – ‘Child’s Play: Examining the Association Between Time Spent Playing and Child Mental Health’ – found that kids who spend more time playing have more positive attitudes, and are less likely to show signs of internalising, such as displaying symptoms of stress, anxiety, or depression. 

More than just play

Soft play tends to be something that we resort to in order to keep little ones entertained on rainy days. We rarely stop to think about just how important these play sessions could be to health and growth. Regularly engaging in soft play can ensure children are starting school with excellent foundational skills that help them feel ready and prepared to take the next step in their development. And these skills don’t just last throughout school; they form the basis of an active lifestyle that works to keep them happy and healthy as they transition into adulthood.

At Implay, we believe play is an important part of the childhood journey. Get in touch with us to find out more about how our products are supporting babies, toddlers, and kids as they learn & grow.