A poll of 1,000 parents with children aged under four found 63 per cent often avoid activities like painting or playing in the mud because of the clean-up required.
Three in 10 will only take part in creative activities at home once every two weeks with just a quarter regularly joining their little one in dressing up or role play.
But 37 per cent enjoy regular trips to the park and a fifth enjoy reading to their child.
A lack of inspiration and cost were factors most likely to discourage them from initiating creative play, along with knowing their child will do these activities with their nursery or childminder.
While 51 per cent admitted to feeling ‘silly’ or ‘embarrassed’ when doing imaginative play such as dress up or role play, with 36 per cent often doing things with their kids that they would rather not.
The research was commissioned by Busy Bees to highlight that different kinds of play can help promote different aspects of a child’s development.
It has also created a quiz to find out what type of ‘parent player’ you are.
Every parent is different
Jenny Shaw, academic lead at the nursery group, said: “Children are learning all the time when they’re playing, and any time a parent spends playing with their child is beneficial to their learning.
“Every parent is different – so it’s natural they will have a preference for one kind of play or another.
“Some thrive off being expressive or letting their little ones burn off excess energy playing outside, whereas others favour quieter activities such as reading and building blocks.
“By highlighting these preferences – and allowing parents to recognise their particular play style – we hope to inspire them to try new activities outside their comfort zone which could bring about different types of learning and which both they and their child