On Wednesday, thousands of children and young people from across the United Kingdom will be out playing, celebrating Playday – the national day for play.
Hundreds of local and regional play events are taking place to promote the importance of children’s right to play.
This year’s Playday theme ‘Play Matters…’ celebrates the many benefits of playing out doors. Many of our childhood memories are reminiscent of climbing trees, making dens, jumping in puddles, making mud pies, rolling down hills, playing with water, chasing, hide and seek, climbing.
It will be no surprise then to learn that when children talk about their preferred play experiences, they more often than not cite outdoor play as their favourite activity. This makes sense; the outdoors is the very best place for children to practice and master emerging physical skills. Frequent and regular opportunities to explore and play in the outdoor environment is essential for children’s holistic health, their well-being, health, happiness, learning and development.
Play Scotland’s Marguerite Hunter Blair said: ‘Play matters for our children and our communities. Playing is an innate behaviour that also contributes to children’s quality of life, their well-being and their physical, social and cognitive development. Playday offers opportunities for children and families to get out and play in the garden, streets and local neighbourhoods which can help build better relationships across the generations and within the community – so get out and Play on Playday!’
Play England’s Chair of Trustees, Nicola Butler, said: ‘Play is vital for children’s mental health and wellbeing. It’s how children make friends, get active and fit, and become confident and competent.’
Mike Greenway of Play Wales said: ‘Play matters because it is how children define their lives and learn how they fit in the world. Unfortunately because it’s more fun than school some people think it’s less important; nothing could be further from the truth.’
Jacqueline O’Loughlin of PlayBoard NI said: ‘Play matters because it is important for children’s health, happiness and well-being. Play supports creativity while developing children’s imagination, dexterity, and physical, cognitive, and emotional strength. Through play children from the earliest of ages engage with and interact in the world around them’