Research of 1,000 parents and their children aged 5-8 revealed 88 per cent of mums and dads think play is vital to developing bonds, with the extra play time leaving them feeling closer than ever with their children.
And more than a third (35 per cent) of parents would like to continue to grow the bond they’ve developed now with the return to normality and their children at school.
Almost two thirds (65 per cent) of children would now describe their mum and dad as their best friends.
While 28 per cent of youngsters rate their parent’s play skills as better than their friends, after spending more time with them than ever before.
The study was commissioned by Kinder Surprise to mark the launch of its Masters of Play Festival and accompanying app to inspire playtime wherever possible.
Child psychologist, Dr Elizabeth Kilbey, said: “A combination of physical and digital play is vital not only for children’s development and learning, but also for building bonds and spending quality time as a family.
“These yield such benefits for both parents and children as it enables parents to have a pivotal role in supporting their children’s development.”
The study also found it’s not just children who think of their parents as their best friends, as 71 per cent of mums and dads feel the same way about their offspring.
Seven in 10 parents have been able to spend more time with their child over the last 12 months, with 92 per cent enjoying the extra time together.
This has left more than three quarters (77 per cent) feeling closer than ever to their family – and 72 per cent believe their bond has grown stronger during the lockdowns.
However, home schooling, finding new ways to keep them entertained and trying to avoid bouts of boredom have been the most challenging moments of the last 12 months for mums and dads.
It also emerged 84 per cent feel a sense of fulfilment when they play with their children, with playing board games, drawing together or playing sports in the garden the most enjoyed activities by parents.
Another 39 per cent have even enjoyed building dens and forts together.
But despite the pressures they have faced during lockdown and homeschooling, six in 10 parents (62 per cent) also admitted they would miss their child being around the house now they have returned to school.
More than three quarters (77 per cent) of those polled have also pledged to try to make more time for play with their kids.
The Masters of Play Festival, which will be hosted by some of the nation’s top entertainers and leading play experts, including TV Presenter and Diversity star Jordan Banjo and award-winning children’s illustrator Draw with Rob, provides a fun play experience for families– just in time for Easter.
Dad-of-two, Jordan Banjo, said: “The bonds between kids and parents look to be stronger than ever and this is something I’ve definitely experienced with my own children thanks to the past year.
“I am excited to be headlining the Masters of Play Festival which will be a great way to help inspire parents with fun little play ideas that will mean a lot to their children.
“I am always looking for new play experiences to share with my kids as I know that playing can also lead to learning new things.
“Alongside the Festival, there is plenty of fun activities that parents can enjoy with their children on a new free app that has been developed by Kinder.”
Leonardo Bertelli, from Kinder, added: “It’s really exciting to see that 77 per cent have pledged that they will try to make more time for play with their kids.
“Through the Masters of Play Festival we wanted to provide parents with inspiring content and activities to help them make the most of their playtime with their children.
“The Festival programme will help to nurture key skills, such as creativity and problem-solving, reflecting the activities found on the new app launched by Kinder.
“The app, which brings Kinder toys to life through augmented reality, is designed to create a fun playing experience that brings the whole family together, so we hope families enjoy the festival and the new app just as much as we loved creating them.”
The Masters of Play Festival is inspired by the playing experiences Kinder offers through the Kinder Surprise toys and the new app, and aims to help parents make the most of playtime with their children.
The festival will take place on Saturday 27th March between 2pm and 4.30pm on Kinder’s Facebook page and at www.kinder.com.