By Kathryn Flatley, Beano Brain
As we enter the pandemic-free, summer months of warmer days and longer evenings, play is taking centre stage in kids' lives.
Be it Minecraft, hide-and-seek, football or tag, kids are choosing to fill their free time with all things play! But it’s not just what they’re playing that we’re interested in, it’s why they play that is really getting our Beano Brains ticking.
Speaking to our Trendspotters, a longitudinal panel of kids and teens, has taught us that play is by no means frivolous – it is full of purpose and is what’s building them up to be the resilient little beings that they are.
Strength in socialising Whether it’s online or IRL, Gen A are usually playing with their mates. These shared experiences are a big part of how they learn to bond with their besties and establish their chosen tribes. But it isn't always fun and games – with play, comes drama. Fallouts, fights, and (un)fair play are all part of the resilience learning curve. Unbeknownst to them, these tougher interactions are teaching them how to resolve conflicts, regulate their emotions and control their behaviours.
"We're trying to make the last two terms the best ever. Our whole year is going to go to Millennial Green and play cricket or hide and seek." Gabi, Age 11
“There’s always arguments on the playground about random stuff now – like who’s better at football or who’s the fastest runner.” Tyler, Age 12
"The boys are all arguing as usual - always about games - you cheated!" Maliyah, Age 10
Taking control Consumed by the pressures of school, homework and SATs, Gen Alpha need time out to do what they what. This might mean building their own home on Roblox or learning the latest TikTok dance with a friend – either way, it’s transporting them into a world where they are in charge.
The freedom and independence play brings is the perfect way for Gen A to forget their stresses and have fun. And most importantly, it’s teaching them healthy coping mechanisms that they’ll carry with them into their bright futures.
“Playing football takes me out of the moment of everything and all my stress.” Theo, Age 13
“My mum told me to forget studying over the weekend and relax so I've been playing Roblox with my friends.” Maya, Age 14
Bouncing back Grazed knees, bruised legs, a few plasters – it’s part of the Gen A package. Each week one of our Trendspotters will live to tell the tale of their recent injury.
Take Caylen (age 10), for example, he sprained his ankle after falling at the skateboard park when attempting to drop in on a half-pipe. But instead of throwing the towel in, he watched some YouTube tutorials and was soon back on the board practicing his tricks. They’ll try something, know why it didn’t work and learn how to do it better. Generation Alpha are embracing failure, and it’s this exact attitude that is building them up to be resilient ready.
“I hurt myself pretty bad but I’m alright. I just need to practice a bit more and then I’ll be able to do it.” Caylen, Age 10
“I’ve had a week off football because of my knee injury. I can’t wait to get back playing again!” Tyler, Age 12
“I can now do cartwheels and handstands in gymnastics now. It’s because I practice so much so I'm getting better at them - I couldn’t do them 2 years ago.” - Mia, Age 10
For this generation, play is second nature - they'll turn any moment of boredom into a fun game in a matter of seconds. And luckily for them, the fun doesn’t stop there. By testing the boundaries with mates, taking a break from schoolwork and persisting through trial and error, Gen A ha built themselves up to be the most resilient they can be.
They have taught us that play is powerful, and the benefits are endless. So, let’s make this summer the summer of play and allow Gen Alpha to lead the way.
If you'd like to know more, please just get in touch and use our brain. We're here to help.