OPINION: It really is child’s play

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It seems that in Sheffield mums - and dads - really do know best. A survey this week says that parents are struggling to engage their youngsters in traditional play.

That’s not what we’ve found; in Sheffield riding bikes, going to the park, a kick about with dad, drawing and painting are all as popular as ever.

Our parents recognise that technology has its place and their kids need to keep pace with new development that will dominate the workplace when they grow up, but they appreciate that the “old” toys and games that have been valued for generations still have their place today.

Traditional baby toys have changed little down the ages and that’s because the staples such as building blocks hone skills crucial to a young child’s development, such as hand-eye coordination and spacial awareness.

Sharing books develops language and communication skills, running and climbing develp healthy young bodies, but also encourage the acquisition of good social skills.

As our clued up Sheffield parents know, these tried and tested children’s activities are how kids learn best - having fun.

Computer games have their place, as does watching TV, but too often these activities can be isolating, as well as addictive.

The most worrying time for parents can be when the terrible two becomes a terrible teen and more and more time is spent in front of a screen - at school as well as at home.

Exposure as a youngster to a range of activities can help steer them away from spending too much time locked in a world of computer games an online “friends”.

It’s not just Sheffield’s youngsters who are appreciating the fun and benefits of traditional pastimes either.

Gardening is enjoying a major boom.

More of us are developing green-fingers, whether to grow our own food, create the ideal backdrop for the summer barbecues we all love or as a tried and tested way of keeping fit and keeping stress at bay.

There are some things the ipad can’t do yet - and cutting the grass is one.