The report, the Play Return, was produced for the Children’s Play Policy Forum and found play improved children’s physical and mental health, as well as their emotional well-being.
It also found playtime in the school playground could enhance academic skills and attitudes and behaviour.
The report was published to coincide with the UK Playday which is now in its 27th year and aims to give children, parents and communities an opportunity to highlight the positive impact of play.
The study reviews a wide range of research into the importance of play in supporting children develop essential skills and knowledge as they grow up.
It found that school playgrounds were one of the best ways of increasing children’s levels of physical activity.
They were also linked to a range of improvements in academic skills, attitudes and behaviour, to improved social skills, improved social relations between different ethnic groups, and better adjustment to school life.