Celebrating play in Wales
Playday is a great opportunity for children and their families to play and have fun in their communities. As well as providing fun and exciting opportunities for children, Playday also comes with a strong message. It is a celebration of children’s right to play, and a campaign that highlights the importance of play in children’s lives.
Across Wales, numerous events were held to mark Playday and celebrate its 30th anniversary. From small-scale community events to thousands of children taking part in events organised in parks and open spaces – Playday is celebrated by each community in a way that suits them. And Play Wales visited a few events to see what people were getting up to.
In Colwyn Bay, the Playday celebrations, were moved from the usual location of Eirias Park to the beach at Porth Eirias. Gone was the traditional huge waterslide but but most attendees seemed to prefer the different location and the play opportunities it provided. Over 3000 people created a massive buzz along the promenade. One parent posted on Facebook saying:
‘Loved it! Beach location was excellent.’
Martin was helping out in the loose parts area supporting children to create dens and building with tarps, tyres, carpet tubes and cardboard boxes. This provided Martin with a great opportunity to ‘do playwork’ and to advocate for play with local councillors, local authority staff, parents and grandparents. After a busy and successful day of providing opportunities for playing children the prom was returned to its former glory, with just a few chalk drawings remaining as evidence of the day ... even they will probably have gone by now with the rain that thankfully held off until the evening.
Of course, the beach naturally provides good opportunities for playing, and the event held in Colwyn Bay gave parents lots of new ideas to support play. But, you don’t need a beach on your doorstep to get the most from playing.
In Cardiff, residents in Ely and Whitchurch closed their streets to traffic for part of the afternoon for street play sessions. In Ely, children and parents skipped with a long blue rope one of the children had scrounged from her dad. Children made a huge Road Closed banner, and when the wind tried to take it away, another child ran home to get four bricks from her dad to help keep it in place.
‘There’s quite buzz in the street this evening. I know two more people than I did yesterday.’
In Whitchurch, Marianne’s highlight was watching two volunteers – grandmas with no children in the street that day – walk arm in arm to escort a local resident driving to his house. When Marianne asked about the driver’s response, she was told, ‘He loved it! And he asked if he could have one everyday’.
Research carried out for the 30th Anniversary of Playday provides a unique insight into how play has changed over the last thirty years from the perspective of those who have lived through these changes. The research highlights the demise of outdoor play with children today spending far more of their play time indoors than outdoors.
Play Wales calls on everyone – parents, grandparents, carers, childcare providers and support staff across Wales to promote and provide opportunities for play not only on Playday, but as part of children’s everyday lives.