The UN (2016) has been clear – and a range of evidence confirms – that the UK government needs to commit to doing more for children’s play. This should include: protecting play space through a more child-friendly planning system; supporting the country’s diminishing network of world-renowned adventure playgrounds; and adopting playwork standards for after-school and holiday care. Adrian Voce poses some questions for politicians seeking election in June. Full blog
A dramatic increase in screen time is putting children’s health at risk, the World Health Organisation (WHO) has warned.
A rise in social media usage and increasing amounts of time spent in front of tablets, computers and smartphones is causing children as young as 11 to suffer an increased risk of poor health, new research revealed. Full article
For me, parenting often feels like endlessly having to say no. No, we can’t have Kinder Eggs for breakfast. No, we can’t buy a horse. No, it doesn’t matter that you only met her once, you still can’t wear swimming trunks to Auntie Ethel’s funeral. Although that last one was my husband. Full blog
A new project in the heart of New York City is demonstrating that the mainly European tradition of adventure playgrounds, currently facing big challenges in the UK and elsewhere, as austerity bites, have enduring popularity wherever there are towns, cities and people with the vision to make space for them. Full blog
The Scottish planning system is soon to undergo reform following an independent review. The proposals under discussion suggest an increasing recognition that children are often excluded from considerations of place. Here, Dr Jenny Wood identifies five ways Scottish Government can improve children’s participation in the planning process, and the environments it shapes and manages. Full blog
Adventure play is enjoying a moment. And at the centre of this is The Land, an adventure playground in Wrexham, North Wales. So it is great to see a 14-minute documentary feature on The Land – from US filmmaker Erin Davis – being made freely available online. Full blog here
For the child living with autistic spectrum disorder (ASD), the urban landscape can be an alienating, frightening environment. Keith McAllister and Neil Galway of Queen’s University, Belfast, argue that planners and architects must rise to the challenge of including children with ASD within the modern child friendly city.
Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) is a lifelong, complex developmental disorder characterised by a triad of qualitative impairments (Wing & Gould, 1979): in social communication; in social interaction; and in social imagination. The range of the spectrum is such that while some may be able to live relatively independently, others will require lifelong continuous support.
Worldwide the numbers of those living with the condition varies between 1 in 300 to 1 in 100. The UK’s National Autistic Society estimates that around 1 per cent of the population has ASD, although this figure seems to be increasing. Full blog
As a child, when I wasn’t eating, sleeping or at school, I was making.
My memories of childhood relate to stuff – smell, material and texture: digging up the garden to make heavy, grogged clay; melting wax crayons to make 3D shapes; building matchstick houses; casting plaster in Disney latex moulds; and cutting out. Always cutting, shaping and sticking. Full blog
As with anything in the early years, first-hand real play experiences have so much more to offer than just watching others use it or reading about it. Many early years practitioners are highly critical of using real tools in the early years and believe it to be dangerous and their group of children to be too irresponsible however many have found great success and fewer dangerous incidents from using real tools. Full blog
Mike Greenway, Director of Play Wales
Some time ago when involved in the production of a publication aimed at identifying quality in playwork  I found myself revisiting decisions my partner and I had made in respect of our own children’s play. It was the 70s and we had very clear ideas about gender stereotyping and war games. Full blog