‘Let us out to play’ – say children across Wales
In support of Playday 2019, Play Wales is releasing highlights from new research that reports on what 6000 children say about play in Wales.
Despite most children (92 percent) report feeling safe when they go out to play, the majority of children (87 percent) don’t play out in their neighbourhood – or only play in theirs, or at friends’ houses and gardens. The research shows a strong link between feelings of safety and children being allowed to play out by their parents.
Playing outside with their families from an early age helps children and neighbours get to know one another better. This means that when they are old enough and confident enough to play outside freely, children feel able to play with friends in a range of places.
Local community events, such as Playday celebrations, provide an ideal opportunity to bring together children, families and the wider community. The biggest difference we can all make in our neighbourhoods is to improve the environment and conditions to make it easier for children of all ages to play out.
We are calling on everyone – parents, grandparents, carers, childcare providers and support staff across Wales to help us to let children play out in their neighbourhood all year round.
Having the freedom to play out with friends helps children to get to known and feel safe in their neighbourhood and to become confident and resilient individuals.
The Playday 2019 theme – Play Builds Children – highlights the many ways play is good for children:
- Play Builds Resilience – playing boosts children’s confidence, creativity, problem-solving skills and perseverance, enabling them to cope with stress and challenges throughout life.
- Play Builds Communities – playing allows children to learn about the world around them, make connections, and develop a sense of identity and belonging.
- Play Builds Friendships – playing allows children to interact with others, develop relationships, deal with conflict, and learn respect and tolerance.
- Play Builds Health and Well-being – being active through play helps children physically and emotionally, contributing to their health and happiness.
Director of Play Wales, Mike Greenaway said:
‘It’s great to see that when they’re allowed out, and able to play in the places they want to, most children are happy with the space and play opportunities on offer. There are however, many children that because of parental restrictions – often with well-meaning concerns for their safety – who aren’t allowed to ‘play out’ and therefore don’t experience the positive impact it has on their health, wellbeing, development, and most importantly their happiness. Play Wales is working to inform parents about the importance of giving children permission and freedom to play out.
‘As a society we need to recognise and value that every child has a right to play. When children have plenty of time and opportunities to play outside near their homes, they feel safer in their neighbourhoods. We need to continue to work together to make our communities more play friendly to increase and improve outdoor play opportunities for our children – on Playday and every day of the year. Children and teenagers across Wales are asking for more time, space and permission to play in communities that care for them… That’s not too much to ask, surely?’
We will be publishing the research in the Autumn.
Playday is co-ordinated by PlayBoard Northern Ireland, Play Scotland, Play England and Play Wales.