Parents are moving away from using traditional play areas for their children and opting for the new range of commercial play centres springing up around the country, according to a study out this week.
The finding is based on an investigation by researchers into the explosion in the number of commercial play centres (CPCs) in the north-west of England. The study, carried out by academics at Glasgow Caledonian and Manchester universities, found that over the past 12 months four out of five children had visited a family pub restaurant, three-quarters had visited an indoor play centre and half had visited a theme park or shop with a play zone.
The results show that parents see CPCs as a positive addition to family leisure options: 85 per cent of parents questioned said CPCs offered value for money and 62 per cent thought they gave children a unique play experience. Nearly 90 per cent of parents thought CPCs were safe for children, and 74 per cent valued CPCs as a chance for their children to interact with others. Four of five parents surveyed said their children would visit a play centre again.
The study found that although CPCs are marketed as a space for children to play, parents are keen to take advantage of the adult leisure facilities on offer nearby.