Playing with a cardboard box and some sticky tape can be just as valuable a learning experience for children as an elaborate day trip to the zoo, according to an expert.
As the summer holidays approach, parents have been reassured there are plenty of ways to aid a child’s development and keep them entertained from the comfort of your own home.
According to Dr Jacqueline Harding, an expert in child development, simple cost-effective play offers crucial developmental benefits as well as driving down levels of stress and anxiety in both parent and child.
As a result, parents who feel they have to spend money to keep their children engaged are being told to ‘relax’, as putting too much stress on digging deep and forking out for expensive outings can place too much financial strain on families.
Dr Harding, who is also an early childhood expert at Middlesex University London, believes simple eye contact and attention is what children crave – from their earliest days with games of peek-a-boo to more advanced play.
While there’s no set time limit on how much one to one play time a child needs per day, it really depends on the quality of the interactions and willingness of the parent to participate.
Children become their best selves during play
Dr Jacqueline Harding said: “Why not start by aiming for just 15 minutes of face to face play with your child. Before you know it, you too will be revelling in play with your child for much longer.
“Play is irresistible to the human nervous system and the untold secret about playing with your child is that you too will derive much the same benefits: it’s win – win”.
The insight was revealed as part of the Creating Happy Memories campaign, a partnership between Fisher-Price and support charity Family Action.
Five low-cost activities have been

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