Children who played adventurously had less anxiety and depression and were generally happier during the COVID-19 lockdowns. In a new study published in the journal Child Psychiatry and Human Development, researchers at the University of Exeter surveyed almost 2,500 parents of children 5 to 11 years old. The researchers asked the parents how often their children engaged in play that was “thrilling and exciting”, play in which the children might experience some fear and uncertainty. They found that children who played outside, doing activities like climbing trees and riding bikes, had fewer symptoms of depression and anxiety and were more positive during the lockdowns. These findings likely apply to kids’ play all the time and not just during the pandemic. Fortunately, these types of activities are usually free, require little equipment or skills, and are available to everyone.
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