The UK Government has recognised the impact that parents playing, talking to and reading to their children has on early language development. This is fantastic. But the benefits of play are much wider: it contributes to cognitive, motor, emotional and social development. Play should be thought of as a vehicle to improve a wide range of outcomes for children, as well as an important part of a happy childhood.
This evidence brief describes what we know about how early play between children and their parents contributes to emotional development and mental health. It also explains why and how policy makers might use this information in their work.