Children’s Early Play Experiences a “Developmental Necessity” for Successful Adults

To build better playgrounds and to encourage more of them, we wanted to understand how play leads to the development of successful adults. That’s why we commissioned a meta-study in partnership with the University of Minnesota Institute of Child Development to advance the conversation.

Drawing from a wide body of social scientific analyses, we found the studies overwhelmingly reinforce the value—and seemingly, the developmental necessity—of children’s early play experiences. Most studies draw strong associations between free, unstructured play and positive outcomes. Several studies also point to restrictive work and school schedules, organized after-school activities, safety concerns and the rise of passive entertainment options for the growing infringement on children’s play opportunities.

For children around the world, playgrounds and play are an important and positive part of childhood development. Request a copy of the full research whitepaper at