The practice of play: how playtime affects child development - 23 Jun 2022 12:00 – 13:00

This event was held on Thursday 23rd June. The recording is available below.

The role of play in child development has changed dramatically in recent history. Just as digital technologies affect how we work, shop and socialise, we’re also seeing new and advanced developments in online play and learning environments for children.

For parents, caregivers and childcare workers, it can be a daunting task to try and work out which activities – online or offline – contribute positively to a child’s development.

Join us for an in-depth conversation with Dr Yinka Olusoga, academic and researcher in education, culture and learning, on supporting constructive and creative playtime for children.

Dr Olusoga’s interdisciplinary research and commitment to understanding the lived experiences of children has lead to new insights on how the practice of playtime can help children to socialise, learn and grow.

Why you should come

This event is for anyone interested in learning about child development and how to ensure all children have the best possible start in life. Whether you’re an academic, researcher, child services professional, or a parent looking to support their child, this event is for you.

Dr Olusoga will discuss her research into child playtime, why we need to rethink the role of digital play, the role parents can have playing with their children and how can we best understand children’s lived experiences.


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Dr Yinka Olusoga


Dr Yinka Olusoga is a lecturer in education at the University of Sheffield, Co-Investigator of The Play Observatory and previously a primary and nursery teacher in Birmingham, Liverpool and London. Dr Olusoga has led and taught on initial teacher education courses in Bradford and Leeds, specialising in the early years 0-7 age range. In 2019 she moved to the University of Sheffield where she co-leads their interdisciplinary undergraduate degree, the BA in Education, Culture and Childhood. Dr Olusoga’s researches children’s play and cultural worlds, past, present and future. She is the Director of the British Academy Research Project Childhoods and Play. Her current research interests focus on intergenerational and intercultural play and storytelling and on the co-construction of inclusive networks and spaces for play.


Dr Jenny Gibson


Dr Jenny Gibson is Chief Scientist at Nesta and Associate Professor in Psychology and Education, University of Cambridge. She leads the Play and Communication Lab (PacLab) at the University of Cambridge’s Faculty of Education, a team investigating the role of play, language, cognition, and neurodiversity in human development. She also leads Nesta's practice teams in a number of areas, bringing these methods together, ensuring rigour and leading methodological innovation.