Playday is a national campaign in the UK, celebrating the children's right to play. They published a report called Children's time to play: A Literature Review looking at the importance of free time and play and examining how children spend their time.
"From the evidence we can conclude that children’s play is vital for their social and physical development and is a way they wish to spend their free time. Children associate free time with freedom, independence and choice; however, play of this nature is often limited. Ginsberg highlights that the combination of busy lifestyles and academic commitments has impinged on children’s free time, affecting their cognitive, physical, social and emotional stability. Play that is directed by adults rather than by children themselves does not require the same level of skills, initiative and decision-making, and so does not offer the same learning experience. That is not to say that adults cannot have a vital role in play. Their involvement in child-centred play can offer a unique bonding opportunity that allows adults to see the world through the eyes of a child (Ginsburg 2006). As Ginsberg notes, we must acknowledge the merits of academia in children’s lives and understand the health benefits of organised activities, but a balance must be stuck between this and more informal and unstructured play, where children are free to enjoy themselves and do as they wish without adult control."