Playful Parenting for Adolescents in Low- and Middle-income Countries: New insights for Learning through Play at scale

  United Kingdom
Award Recipient(s) Jonathan Klapwijk (University of Oxford)
Partners Department of Social Policy and Intervention, University of Oxford, United Kingdom; National Institute for Medical Research, Mwanza Research Centre, Tanzania; Centre for Social Science Research, University of Cape Town, South Africa; Department of Psychiatry and Mental Health, University of Cape Town, South Africa; Innovations in Development, Education and the Mathematical Sciences (IDEMS) International, United Kingdom; Innovations in Development, Education and the Mathematical Sciences (INNODEMS), Kenya; Clowns Without Borders South Africa, South Africa; Faculty of Health and Life Sciences, University of Exeter, United Kingdom; Parenting for Lifelong Health, United Kingdom


This research study will explore how Tanzanian caregivers and adolescents engage using playful parenting practices. The aim is to explore, investigate, and co-create activities using participatory methods to build evidence of playful parenting practices among caregivers and adolescents in Tanzania. Further, the aim is to explore engagement patterns and contextual predictors of engagement with playful parenting practices in LMICs. The study will undergo a randomised controlled trial to measure engagement and impact of playful parenting activities and use the results to inform policy. Already backed by the Tanzanian government, this study has the potential to lead the first playful parenting intervention for adolescents at scale.

This study will be implemented in a series of phases following the IDEAS Framework (Mummah et al., 2016). It is a tailored intervention design for more effective digital interventions to change health behaviours. The co-created playful parenting activities that caregivers and adolescents found useful, feasible, and achievable will be integrated into the intervention focusing on measurable target behaviours between caregivers and adolescents.


Ideally, this study will harness a greater understanding of caregiver-adolescent relationships and the impact of caregivers’ involvement in their adolescent’s development. This can lead to the development of scalable open-source interventions and assessments to inform mindset shifts regarding learning through play and playful practices for holistic development to inform future policy.

How does this tie in with the GPI's overall goals?

This study’s primary focus is to partially achieve the combined GPI studies aim to make an essential contribution to the study of learning through play by revealing parental beliefs, practices, perceptions, and the role of play and learning within the Global South. I will work in collaboration with families and institutional partners to explore in-depth and at-scale methods of capturing caregiver and adolescent perceptions of learning through play, as well as how playful parenting practices are adopted within each context through our tailored interventions. This will allow for the distinguishing of culturally specific understandings and adoptions of play-based pedagogies, as well as caregivers’ stance on the role of play in their children’s learning and development.

What comes next?

The goal is to provide policymakers and governments with tools to be deployed at scale in the Global South, ensuring the inclusion of all caregivers and adolescents, especially those from marginalised communities. Ideally, it will assist in improving the trajectory of the Sustainable Development Goals through the promotion of playful parenting programmes.