Why is it so important for children to play?

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There’s a reason that we include the word PLAY in our company name – as far as we are concerned, PLAY is such an important part of growing up.

Today is Play Day – an apt time for such a fun awareness day, given that most of our kids are enjoying their favourite time of the year, their school holidays. How much time do your children spend actually playing though? We don’t mean sitting with a device in their hands or watching a screen, we mean creative play and active play, the sort we used to be excited to do at school.

Creative stimulation

Last week, we wrote about some of the great fun games we used to play when we were kids, silly, active games that tended to involve a lot of running around and enough of an imagination to think that a park bench was a shipwreck, or that you were running away from a real-life ‘Mr Wolf’.

Play doesn’t have to take place outside to be worthwhile – with our unpredictable climate the chances are that at least some of the school holidays will have to be spent indoors avoiding the weather. However, it’s really important that kids get to play games and interact with each other, whether it’s their siblings or their little friends they are playing make-believe with. Anything from playing dress up, acting out with toys and dolls, playing house, or whatever floats your child’s boat, indulging and expanding their imagination is a crucial part of their development, and it helps them to make sense of their world as they grow so fast.

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So what is Play Day?

Play Day is the national day for play, which is usually held on the first Wednesday of August every year. It’s a celebration of childrens’ right to be able to play – and a campaign to keep playing an important part of our kids’ lives. The national Play Day is coordinated by Play England, Play Wales, Play Scotland and PlayBoard Northern Ireland.

Play Day

The event came about in the eighties, in response to rumours about government cuts to school-based play centres and adventure playgrounds in London. A group of concerned play workers called a meeting, and as a result, Mick Conway, Paul Bonel and Kim Holdaway came up with the great idea of having a day for play every year. Since 1987. Play Day has grown from a London-based project with just a few events to the biggest celebration of children’s play in the UK, and possibly even Europe.

Play Day gives the play sector a chance to get people thinking about the importance of play in children’s lives, and also, they hope, it shows the decision-makers that cutting play services can have devastating effects on children, families and entire communities.  It helps us demonstrate that play is absolutely fundamental for children’s enjoyment of childhood, and it’s also vital for their health, well-being and development.

 What happens on Play Day?

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To celebrate Play Day, children and communities are all encouraged to get out and play. There are events held all over the UK, everything from street parties, park festivals, woodland adventures and public events.

Get out and celebrate Play Day – stand up for your child’s right to play!

You can find out about events near you here:  Play Day Events Page

 

 

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