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Getjenny
Playing is a child's job

Are Finnish children in danger of running out of play?

Study: parents want more unpressurised free time for their children

According to a recent survey of 1,000 Finns, virtually every Finn would like their children to play more, and parents of children under 15 think their children's free time is too performance-oriented. They want more exercise, play and independent time with friends in their children's free time. This should be replaced by screen time and too much training and competition. 

According to a survey* commissioned by the adventure park operator HopLop, 30% of parents of children under 15 say their child has only played until the age of 6. A fifth of children have played until the age of 10 and only 11% until the age of 11. This means that a surprising number of children stop playing before starting school or at the latest during the first years of school. As many as 69% of parents of children under 15 who responded to the survey wish their children had more relaxed and unstressed free time with their loved ones.

"Children's leisure time has become frenetically performance-oriented. And the same goes for us adults. For us, an important goal is to provide pressure-free leisure time for both children and their parents," says Kalle Peltola, CEO of HopLop. "We aim to provide an inspiring and stimulating environment for the whole family to play and exercise."

The importance of play cannot be overemphasised

When asked what leisure activities parents would like to see more of in their children's lives, it was self-directed exercise and play that stood out.

"For children under 7, around half of parents would like to see more of both. For school-age children, i.e. 7-15 year olds, exercise is even more important than play. 65% of parents who responded to the survey would like to see more of this in their children's everyday lives," says HopLop's Peltola.

These wishes should be fulfilled, as play and movement not only enrich children's days, but also play a key role in their development.

 

"From an occupational therapy perspective, it can be said that play often stops at too early an age. Research on play has shown that play is an essential part of development and a window into a child's world until at least the age of eight," says Helena Tigerstedt, who has made a career as a children's occupational therapist and now trains occupational therapists. "When a child plays, he or she strengthens his or her motor skills and problem-solving skills. Play also develops a child's resilience."

Toy and play researcher Katriina Heljakka is currently working on her PhD thesis on technologising play at the University of Turku. She says that the scarcity and premature cessation of play is a worrying trend, but one she does not fully subscribe to. It is more a question of how play is defined and talked about.

"It does not do play justice if it is thought to be just playing with toys or imaginative role-play. A broad definition of play, for example, is that it can be considered play. Sport and art are also, to a large extent, play. Play is a broad phenomenon that affects not only humans but also animals. It requires communication, interaction skills, creative self-expression and creates a sense of community. It has been said that play is social glue," says Heljakka.

"The essence of play is play itself. In play, the activity does not aim to achieve a predetermined goal, although it has a variety of benefits," Tigerstedt clarifies.

Screen time

Good or bad screen time?

According to the survey results, at least screen time and hard, goal-oriented exercise should give way to play and voluntary physical activity. 26% of parents would like to see less hard training or competition and 74% would like to see less talkative screen time for their children.

"In this day and age, and as a parent myself, I understand that people are concerned about how much we each engage with mobile devices and consume entertainment," says Heljakka.

"Play is forever disruptive. It is constantly transforming and forever in a state of change. At the moment, play is undergoing a particularly big transformation, and we can talk about technologising play, which I am also studying in my PhD thesis. Play penetrates all platforms and all environments in different ways, moving both the body and the mind," she continues.

 "Of course, it is good to make sure that technology does not bury all other forms of play, but at the same time it is worth remembering that children also learn skills that will be useful to them in their lives when they use smart devices," Heljakka sums up.

Peltola agrees. "It would be great if every child and family could find a way to move and play together and separately. In HopLop, you can play the most imaginative quiet or wild games, play with an instructor or independently in the same adventure park, and do intellectually challenging mobile tasks."

The value of play is not reflected in everyday life

Play experts point to the importance of the role of parents as facilitators of meaningful activity and play.

"Our job as adults is to enable children to play. Parents don't have to know how to analyse play in any way, for example, but it is important that we value the child's perspective and give play time. In practice, this can mean, for example, taking the child to a friend who lives further away," says Tigerstedt.

Playing together as a family

91% of respondents, or virtually every Finn, wish their children would play more. The big question is, is this reflected in our everyday choices?

"My wish is that adults would learn to play and dare to join in with the children's activities. Then all children would be better equipped to grow and develop," says Tigerstedt.

"Play is serious, but it's not serious and it's something that belongs to all of us. We adults can be facilitators of play by playing together with children, but also by setting an example by bringing playfulness to the fore in our adult interactions. This is important because, dramatically speaking, the end of play is the end of humanity," concludes Heljakka.

* The data collection was carried out as an online survey at the M3 Panel run by Bilendi Oy on 22-25.09.2022.The target group of the survey was 18-74 year-olds and 1000 Finns responded to the survey. The sample was nationally representative by gender, age and area of residence.

Experts interviewed

Helena Tigerstedt

Tigerstedt started his career as the first occupational therapist at the Children's Hospital of the Turku University Hospital in 1986. She currently teaches occupational therapists at Tallinn Health Care College and does clinical work in private practice in Turku. Her core competences are sensory integration theory and therapy and knowledge of imaginary play. Tigerstedt believes that the most important principle in her work is that every child has the right to play.

Katriina Heljakka

Heljakka, a toy and play researcher, is currently working on her second doctoral thesis on technologising play at the University of Turku. Previously, she has done a PhD on adult toy relationships at Aalto University in 2013. During her research, she has worked as a game and toy designer and children's book author. Heljakka believes that play belongs to everyone.

Adventure park HopLop

HopLop is the largest adventure park chain in Finland and the largest private children's operator. HopLop was founded in 2005 and has 17 locations throughout Finland. The first HopLop in Germany opened in 2018. HopLop wants to bring joy and fun to the everyday lives of families with children and make it easier without compromising safety.

 www.hoplop.fi

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From HopLop

HopLop operates nationwide, with parks in every region from Turku to Joensuu and Helsinki to Oulu. HopLop parks also include quality family restaurants and birthday parties.

Good to knowFrom Activity Pass

The pass can only be purchased in the Leo´s Playground online shop. The Toys Pass cannot be purchased at HopLop or Leo's parks.

To purchase a pass, log in or register as a Leo's & HopLop Family member and add the child for whom Pass is being purchased. The Pass you purchase will be available for the duration of the validity period through your Family account.

When you buy a pass, you register as a member of the Leo's & HopLop Family. The Pass you purchase will be available for the duration of your Family account.

A limited number of passes are on sale. The promotional offer will expire on 7.4.2024 at the latest. There is only a limited number of Touhupasses available, in which case they may be sold out and the promotion will expire before 7.4.2024.

Yes, Pass is personal and is marked for a specific child.

Yes, Pass includes admission for two adults.

You can buy more than one pass but you must buy one Pass at a time, as Pass is always registered for a specific child.

Pass is valid until 23.6.2024. The sooner you buy, the more adventures you can have!

The Touhupass is valid in all Leo's and HopLop parks in Finland. If you wish to use the pass in Leo´s Playgrounds in other countries, please contact Customer Service at hello@leosleikkimaa.fi or info@hoplop.fi

With a Pass you can have as many adventures as you like during the period of validity of your pass. It is advisable to book your playtime well in advance. One playtime per day. The pass cannot be used to pay for birthdays, outings or group events.

On the first visit, a photo of the child will be taken in the park and attached to the passport to ensure identification. Pass is personal and the child must be prepared to show proof of identity on each adventure (a Kela card is sufficient proof).
The QR code on the passport must be displayed via the Family account when entering the adventure. A screenshot of the passport is not sufficient.

The Toys in a Bag includes one free plastic parallel card on request. To obtain a plastic card, a valid Pass must be shown on the Family account at the park's cashier. A photocopy of the passport is not sufficient.
The parallel card will allow the child to come and play without having to show the passport separately through the Family Account.

We recommend making a playtime booking. Remember to log in to your Family account to use your pass.

Book your HopLop playtime in advance via the booking form. Finalise your booking by clicking on the "Use my Activity Pass" button.

Arrive at the park and show your reservation at the cashier, as well as your Toys & Games pass from your Leo's & HopLop Family account. The Activity Pass must be shown directly from your account, a screenshot of the pass is not sufficient. Other children and adults included in the reservation are eligible for a discounted online admission price.

Leo's and HopLop have the right to cancel Pass, if the user repeatedly behaves in a disruptive manner or does not comply with the park's operating rules, or if Passa is misused. 

Customer service will help you at hello@leosleikkimaa.fi or info@hoplop.fi

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Arrival instructions

  1. Drive to Fredikanterassi 1, 00520 Helsinki
  2. Park on floor P4.
  3. If you are on the second floor, take the lift to floor P4
  4. Find the pink area (the columns) and look for the glass door that says DOWN UNDER.
  5. Enter through the glass doors, turn immediately left. Walk to the end of the corridor and through the door.
  6. You are now on the P4 floor on the top deck. You can access the park either by the lift on the right or by the Hoplop door down the stairs.
  7. Welcome!

Option 1: Follow the yellow DOWN UNDER signs hanging from the ceiling, which will lead you to your destination. Note that not all lifts stop on all floors. Maps in the mall will help you find the lifts and the route.

Option 2: On arrival at Tripla from the train station, there is an information desk on floor 4 where you can ask for advice. 

Option 3: Take the lifts in the shopping centre to floor P4 (parking garage). Follow the yellow DOWN UNDER signs and the signs on the ceiling until you see the HOPLOP signs. Follow the signs to the park. This is a completely FREE option for entering the park.

Option 4: MINITRIPLA is located on the second floor of the shopping centre. From there, a DOWN UNDER signposted route runs along the corridor to the lifts that take you directly to the park (the lifts are timed, and only go to floor P6 when the park is open). 

Option 1: Follow the yellow DOWN UNDER signs hanging from the ceiling, which will lead you to your destination. Note that not all lifts stop on all floors. Maps in the mall will help you find the lifts and the route.

Option 2: On arrival at Tripla from the train station, there is an information desk on floor 4 where you can ask for advice. 

Option 3: Take the lifts in the shopping centre to floor P4 (parking garage). Follow the yellow DOWN UNDER signs and the signs on the ceiling until you see the HOPLOP signs. Follow the signs to the park. This is a completely FREE option for entering the park.

Option 4: MINITRIPLA is located on the second floor of the shopping centre. From there, a DOWN UNDER signposted route runs along the corridor to the lifts that take you directly to the park (the lifts are timed, and only go to floor P6 when the park is open). 

 

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Gift for a hero: your very own Monthly pass!

When you book a birthday party between 16.4.-26.5.2024, you will receive a monthly pass as a gift for your hero. The pass can be collected from the park on the day of the celebration, which is also the start of the month's play time. Pass The pass is linked to the Family account of the reserver.

Yes, Pass is personal and is marked for the birthday hero.

With a Pass you can have as many adventures as you like during the period of validity of your pass. It is advisable to book your playtime well in advance. One playtime per day. The pass cannot be used to pay for birthdays, outings or group events.

Pass is valid in all Leo's and HopLop parks in Finland. If you wish to use the pass in Leo´s Playgrounds in other countries, please contact Customer Service at hello@leosleikkimaa.fi or info@hoplop.fi

With a Pass you can have as many adventures as you like during the period of validity of your pass. It is advisable to book your playtime well in advance. One playtime per day. The pass cannot be used to pay for birthdays, outings or group events.

We recommend making a playtime booking. Remember to log in to your Family account to use your pass.
Book your playtime in advance via the appointment form. Finalise your booking by clicking on the "Use passport" button.
 
Arrive at the park and show your reservation to the cashier, and your passport from your Leo's & HopLop Family account. Pass must be shown directly from your account, a screenshot of your passport is not sufficient. Other children and adults included in the reservation are eligible for a discounted online admission price.
Leo's and HopLop have the right to revoke Pass if the user repeatedly behaves in a disruptive manner or does not comply with the park's rules of operation or if the pass is misused. 
 
Customer service will help you at hello@leosleikkimaa.fi or info@hoplop.fi