There was a time when it was accepted that children, once they were old enough and confident enough to negotiate the outside world independently or with friends and siblings, played outside and ranged within their neighbourhood freely. There are still places in Wales where this is the case.
However, there is a common perception among both young and old that children can no longer play out independently and that they need to be transported or accompanied by adults once they leave their home.
The lack of opportunity to play out and range has an impact on children’s health and wellbeing – both mentally and physically - and their resourcefulness and resilience.
Play Wales supports initiatives that reclaim the streets and neighbourhoods – all public places – for children and young people to be able to range and play.
For most children, there has been a decrease over the past thirty years in children’s access to the streets and outdoor areas near their homes. Increasingly their independent mobility is restricted by traffic and fear, which in turn leads them to spend much of their time indoors or at organised activities. The combination of an increase in vehicles on the roads, increased parental anxiety, and restrictions on children’s mobility in the form of child curfews and anti-social behaviour orders has reduced outdoor play opportunities for most children.