Children grow better with active play. Psychology says so

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The more children play outside, the more they grow inside and they will be better adults. To understand how much they have lost during two years of confinement and limitations of presence and creativity we must analyze time through their eyes: “If we perceive time from the perspective of an adult it is one thing, but if we look at it with that of a child, we understand that two years of a pandemic can represent 50% of his life, a fundamental period for growth and training “, says Dr. Alberto Pellai, Psychotherapist of the developmental age, PhD in Public Health, Specialist in Hygiene and Preventive Medicine and researcher at the University of Milan.

“The lockdown increased the time that children spent in front of the screen and this negatively affected language learning: the words heard through a video are perceived passively, they are not comparable to those exchanged during a conscious and active interaction” .

Making up for lost time is not possible, but declining active play in the present and future time is a must. For this, Dr. Pellai together with the scientific committee formed by Laura Pomari, psychomotor, Marta Rizzi psychotherapist psychologist, e Barbara Tamborini psycho-pedagogist and writer have dedicated the manifesto to active play “Come out, grow inside! “, presented by Little Tikes, a brand that for over 50 years has been making toys that stimulate imagination and action, in the setting of Forte Village in Sardinia, supporter of the initiative. Through play, children learn to create and explore a world they are able to master, they can develop skills, learn to make decisions, to solve problems. «With the game you create a separate dimension from reality where extraordinary things happen, in the game trees have the power to turn into castles “, says Pomari.


“No parent would say to a child who asks him to come down and play:” Yes, but no more than 30 minutes. ” With video games, however, you feel the natural instinct to set limits. This happens because the game is automatically recognized as something that feels good. In reverse, video games stop the body and stimulate only two of the five senses. Active play adapts to the natural rhythm of the child and follows its physiological cycle of fatigue, allowing the development of integrated neuronal networks, i.e. experiences that are processed by different areas of the cerebral cortex. With video games everything is more limited, there is only a stimulus-reaction scheme, in which you are not free to decide the plot and to build a narrative in progress “, explains Pellai.


Children discover themselves by playing: «It helps them to become what they want to be, it allows them to discover others through the development of relational skills. The child discovers the world because the game requires him to handle what is in the world by stimulating many brain areas. A child who does not play will be an adult who knows himself less and who has not gained the awareness of feeling capable, and of being the protagonist of his life ».


«Play is the moment of pleasure even in adulthood and allows you to get out of the dynamics of duty. The best thing is to find your own space of pleasure with the child, which can also be a simple ride on a bicycle: the idea is to do good to both by finding a common dimension ».


“WHO recommends that children be physically active for three hours a day. So I advise parents: check how long your baby has moved and if it is less than three hours, analyze what he was doing instead. Studies tell us that active play in nature is what is best for children and makes adults feel good too ».


Get out, grow in it received the patronage of the Municipality of Milan and it is not just a manifesto for its own sake. It comes to life concretely with the initiative “Come down to the courtyard “ which includes an awareness-raising activity on the importance of playing under the house, so that gardens and courtyards become places where active play is possible and accessible everywhere and to everyone. The condominiums of Italy that are located in disadvantaged areas, can apply through the website to receive outdoor play sets and thus create areas where children can meet, play, give vent to their imagination and socialize.

“Play for Good”, is the socio-charitable initiative aimed at raising donations and funds to support children and mothers in difficulty and give them the opportunity to live a normal life, also made up of playful moments. The proceeds will be donated to the Archè Foundation which, through various projects, concretely supports mothers in difficulty and their children.
The little ones can do their part by sending gods drawings: among these, ten will be selected to customize the Cozy Coupe, the iconic Little Tikes toy cars, which will then be the protagonists, together with the drawings, of an exhibition.

In the gallery the benefits of active play.

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