How will kids play in the future? It's a question that is on the minds of many parents of young children or even couples who want to have a child in the future.
It may have seemed like the amount of time kids spend playing isn't as much as when you were a child. Children would rather watch videos on a device or play video games. While these are still a form of play, it's not quite the same as heading to the local park and running around with the neighborhood kids or crafting a castle out of cardboard boxes.
Play has certainly drastically changed since the pandemic hit. Kids haven't been able to see their peers for playdates. Instead, they're stuck at home with their parents and siblings and haven't been able to carry out their imagination and playtime to the fullest.
Despite all this, children will still play, as it's a necessary part of development — it just might look slightly different than you're used to.
Toys Will Adapt to Ability Levels and Interests
Over the past decade, toys have changed drastically. Most kids can probably operate a tablet or other electronic device better than adults. Plus, they have a knack for knowing to swipe at a screen.
While the toys kids play with are more technology-based, kids still have a curiosity about them. The way kids play isn't necessarily changing, but the tools they have to play with are evolving. Toys have to adapt to varying ability levels and interests.
In the future, a parent may have the option to choose their child's interests on a website. The site would lead to tools and toys that would suit the child's interests and age level. This customized way of playing benefits kids because it strengthens skills and caters towards weaker skills they can further build. As technology advances, it will have the ability to switch to your child's skillset and age.
There Will Be Plenty of Outdoor Play Spaces
Although COVID-19 has restricted public play areas, that doesn't mean there won't be any at all in the future. In fact, there might be even more playgrounds available. Mini play areas will take over and will be available for your kids no matter where they go.
Think about how many opportunities there are to place a small playground or play space. Sidewalks can be stocked with chalk or jump ropes, businesses can add a playground, and even restaurants can provide a place for small children to play to keep them occupied.
With the availability of play spaces everywhere, the idea of playing everywhere is reinforced. This will give kids a chance to stay active and boost their creativity rather than looking at a screen while mom or dad runs an errand.
Kids Can Create Their Own Toys
Kids have already used their imaginations to create their own toys. Various toy kits are available for purchase where children can follow directions or use their creativity to make toys like slime, stuffed animals or dolls.
In the future, instead of heading to the store to purchase a toy, your child might be able to create toys for themselves. Using advanced technology like a 3-D printer, children can fashion dollhouses, little animals or dolls and toy cars from the comfort of your home.
3-D printers already exist, but they have the potential to enter the homes of any family so kids can make toys to play with.
Screen Time Could Fade
If you're like most parents, you monitor your child's screen time. It's important for their health that they don't glue themselves to a blue screen for hours every day. However, in the future, rather than solely a form of entertainment, your child will view screens as tools.
Instead of only wanting to spend time on a tablet or phone, the screen will be just like any other tool or toy. Think about what happens when you hand your child something like a pair of scissors. The scissors are merely a tool, but they're used to create something.
The distinction between toys and technology will diminish over time. You'll one day hand your child a tablet, and they'll use it to virtually color a picture or make art rather than use it to play games or watch videos 24/7.
Traditional Toys Will Still Be Important
Just because children's play is changing doesn't mean traditional toys won't be staple items in the playroom. Kids still want a tangible experience when they play, though. Sometimes, you might hand your kid some blocks and tell them to play.
They have to experience boredom. In such a technological world, kids are told what to make out of something. Boredom expands their imagination and creativity and is an essential part of child development.
This doesn't mean technology will go away. There will still be many toys available for them to play with that integrate technology. However, what you see now with kids and traditional, basic toys will remain a constant.
Have No Fear, Parents — Kids Will Still Play
With all of these changes, it's understandable to be nervous for your children. You want them to have all of the great experiences you had as a child. However, remember that play looks different every generation. New toys and technology make the world of play change all the time. No matter what happens, though, your kids will still need that playtime as a necessary step in their development.