To support Playday in 2014 the Children’s Play Policy Forum released ‘The Play Return: A review of the wider impact of play initiatives’ by Tim Gill. The report presents evidence to build the case for improving the play opportunities of children and young people. Its focus is on children of school age, and on free play that takes place out of doors. It looks at quantitative evidence of the wider outcomes and impact of play interventions and initiatives. The report looks at four types of intervention that each involve setting aside time and space for children to play:
- improving opportunities for free play in school break times
- unstaffed public play facilities
- supervised out-of-school play provision
- street play initiatives.
Welcoming the report, Robin Sutcliffe, Chairman of the Children’s Play Policy Forum said ‘This report provides a valuable insight into the fundamental importance of play to the lives of children, not only in terms of their development and wellbeing but also their enjoyment of childhood.’
Robin continued, “At a government policy level it is our belief that this report provides compelling evidence of the impact play can have across a range of policy areas including health and education”.
Author of the report, Tim Gill said “At the core of the report is the message that not only does outdoor play impact significantly on the lives of children and young people, it also in many cases can provide a basis for the transformation of wider communities.”
Tim added “From the perspective of politicians and policy makers, the report highlights that investing in play can, and does lead to multiple benefits including improved educational attainment, a healthier society and increased levels of tolerance within and between communities”.
The report reinforces the Playday 2014 campaign messages. Marguerite Hunter Blair, Chief Executive of Play Scotland said “This year’s theme of “Play is…” is a fantastic theme for Playday, as it highlights that play means so many different things to different people. We are keen to ensure children and young people enjoy their right to play but we also know how important play is for older generations too. We would love Playday to be a celebration for everyone of what play means to them.”
Aileen Campbell, the Minister for Children and Young People also pledged her support to the event “I am delighted to be supporting Playday 2014 and ‘Play is…’ is a brilliant theme. It highlights how individual play is to each and every youngster. We know play is an essential part of children’s quality of life and is absolutely vital to brain development, encouraging physical activity, building social skills and resilience.
There is a huge amount of work being done to create new community play spaces and revitalise old playgrounds. With our partners we are supporting this work and providing even more activities so that families the length and breadth of the country benefit from the many benefits of play.”