Everyone knows that play dates are fun for kids of all ages. However, a new study shows that they can be more than just fun…they can be extremely essential for children emotionally. The new study shows that play dates help with long-term mental health for kids.


“What matters is the quality, rather than the quantity, of peer play. Games with peers that encourage children to collaborate, for example, or activities that promote sharing, will have positive knock-on benefits,” Vicky Yiran Zhao, a Ph.D. student and first author of the University of Cambridge study said, as quoted by

According to, as a part of the study, researchers analyzed nearly 1,700 children between the ages of three to seven-years-old. While studying the sample group, researchers discovered that the children with better peer play activity at the age of three were less likely to show signs of mental health struggles by age seven. The younger children tended to be less hyperactive, and parents and educators reported fewer instances of emotional or behavioral issues and fights with other children.

When researchers looked at subgroups of their sample population, children with higher risk for mental health issues, the findings remained consistent.

Curious about what games the children played during the study?

Well, some of the games that the children played in the study included:

  • Imaginative pretend play
  • Building a tower of blocks (encourages focus on goal-directed tasks)
  • Hide-and-Seek (encourages collaboration)

Additional experts have stated that things such as family game night can aid children with their social and emotional learning (SEL). SEL teaches children numerous skills that they will need throughout their lives. SEL teaches children things such as: self-awareness, self-management, decision making, social awareness, and relationship skills.

Play dates are not only beneficial for the kids, it is a God-send for many of the parents as well. Through play dates and group activities, many parents are able to find or add to their tribes. Remember, it takes a village and finding another adult to connect with during these trying times is nothing more than a bonus!

Tiffany Silva

Tiffany Silva

Writer and Editor

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