Active play makes toddlers happier and more social
Especially watching TV has a negative impact on their happiness, perhaps because it involves the least interaction, as claimed by researchers from the University of Oxford and the Open University. By contrast, those who participate in active play develop better motor and speech skills.
The survey involved more than 800 children aged 2-3 years, whose mothers were asked about youngsters’ happiness and the development of their speech, movement and social skills. In addition, they were asked to record what activities their child had taken part in during the previous two weeks.
The study found that spending time on active tasks helped children's development. For example, painting or arts and crafts led to improved motor skills, while reading, telling stories and singing boosted their speech. Children who often took part in active pursuits with their parents were also happier.
On the other hand, passive activities such as looking at picture books with parents or watching TV did not contribute to skill development or happiness levels.
The researchers added that picture books with no words are a little bit less interactive and involving than reading. There is no negative effect, but they also haven’t a positive impact in contrast to some other activities.