With the focus on mental health this week, it is important to remember that play is vital to supporting children and young people’s mental health and wellbeing.
Play Scotland undertook a survey in April 2020 on the impact of COVID-19 on play and childcare settings in Scotland. The impact of the pandemic and the resulting restrictions on children and families’ mental health and wellbeing was a major concern.
The impact of Covid-19 on play opportunities compounds an already recognised worrying problem in childhood. The decline of outdoor play is a huge issue for the health and wellbeing of children and young people.
Play Scotland are delighted to launch their Home play pack which will be free to organisations working with children and families in these challenging times.
We know children need play to thrive and make sense of their world, and that play supports their mental and physical health and wellbeing. Play Scotland have created this pack and our #101waystoplay campaign in order to support children and families to stimulate their imagination, creativity and play time. Many ideas can be led and carried out by children themselves, with very little adult support and some are good fun for all the family! Many are suitable for indoors or confined spaces, and most are low cost or free.
Maree Todd, Minister for Children and Young People said:
“I’m delighted that Play Scotland are responding to the current situation by launching their new Home play pack, as part of their #101waystoplay campaign. Play has never been more important to help children get through these difficult times but given the current pressures on families, it can be a real challenge for all of us to find time to play. The Home play pack has some great tips and ideas for helping families to fit play in their day.”
We are delighted to announce that the theme for this year’s Playday is … Everyday Freedoms Everyday Adventures
The Playday 2020 theme aims to highlight the importance of giving children and teenagers the freedom to play and have everyday adventures. As well as celebrating children’s right to play, Playday 2020 recognises the impact of government restrictions and physical distancing on children’s mental health and opportunities to play freely with friends and in their community.
This year, we want to focus on the unique characteristics of play that we know help children make sense of the world around them and can alleviate their stress and anxiety, particularly during challenging and uncertain times.
As in previous years we are calling on families and carers to support children to play in carefree ways, on Playday and every day! Children will play wherever they are and whenever they can – as adults we can support this by making play a part of our daily life.
Just released – a survey was undertaken by Play Scotland in April 2020 on the impact of COVID-19 on play and childcare settings in Scotland. A total of 263 responses were received from play and childcare providers. This Play Scotland report presents a timely and up to date picture of the impact of COVID-19 on play and childcare provision in Scotland.
Of great concern is that the vast majority of respondents said that children’s outdoor play opportunities had been curtailed due to the coronavirus crisis.
We know children need play to thrive and make sense of their world and that play supports their mental and physical health and wellbeing. It is of vital importance to the wellbeing of children, families and communities.
Play Scotland is calling on the Scottish Government, local government and support agencies to work together to ensure Scotland’s children are enabled to play, particularly outdoors, in order for them to be safe, well and protected during this challenging time.
The COVID-19 pandemic is having an impact on children and families around the world. In order to support the child’s right to play in these difficult times, the International Play Association (IPA) has developed the new IPA Play in Crisis: support for parents and carers resource.
Each page of the resource provides parents and carers with information and ideas so they can support their child’s play. There are topics such as the importance of playing in crisis, and how to respond to children’s play needs, through to issues that parents may be concerned about, like children playing with difficult themes of loss, death and loneliness.
The International Play Association recognises playing as a basic and vital part of the pleasure of childhood. It is as an essential part of all aspects of children’s development. During crisis, play has a significant therapeutic role, helping children recover a sense of normality and joy.
Today my dog turns 9 months old. As a special treat, my mum and I took him out on an extra long walk this morning. We walked through the farm fields, the forest and round the outskirts of a beautiful golf course nearby. The sun shone and the birds sang for us the entirety of the walk. It was an incredible way to start my day.
In the afternoon, my sister and I decided to do some baking. As Easter is approaching, we were reminded of our favourite cake that our uncle used to make every year for Easter Sunday – carrot cake! I remember when I was young, my grandma and granddad would set up an Easter egg hunt in their garden for my cousins and I. We would all have a bag hidden somewhere with our names on it and whoever found theirs first would get the biggest slice of carrot cake! I’ll really miss seeing my wider family this year for Easter but thankfully we can use apps like Skype and Zoom to video chat with each other.
This evening, my family and I decided to create a competition. Every night we change who the chef is to keep it fair and to make sure no one gets bored of cooking every night. The competition is to score the meal out of five stars, and each night we place our vote on a timetable I drew up. At the end of lockdown we will see who got the most stars added up over every meal we have made and the winner will get the grand prize – a three course meal of their choice with their favourite homemade cocktail all made by the 4 of us who didn’t place first.
Today was the day that was supposed to be my last day of school. We were supposed to have had a big party in a field near our school with bouncy castles, music and a barbecue. Sadly, due to lockdown, none of this took place. Thinking about what today should’ve been really made me sad. Since first year this was the big day that you looked forward to and anticipated. And we couldn’t celebrate in the way we should have. It seems really unfair.
So instead of this, as a year group, we decided to have a big group FaceTime on an app called ‘Houseparty’. It was fun to chat with everyone again and hear all about each other’s lockdowns so far. I really liked using this app to chat with my friends and would recommend it.
As well as today being our imaginary last day of school, it is also my mum’s birthday. For her birthday we decided to cook a full English breakfast and bring it to her in bed. My sister and I made the food and my brother was assigned to making us all tea and coffee and bringing all the presents to my mum’s room. Once we had eaten, it was time for presents! We got her her favourite champagne and favourite chocolates. I also made her a birthday card as I’ve always loved drawing and art.
To celebrate her birthday evening, we made homemade pizzas and all had a small glass of champagne. So even though her birthday was spent in lockdown, we still had a laugh and made the evening special.
I spent this morning sitting in the garden with my big sister. We both are big coffee drinkers and are especially fans of Starbucks. Because of lockdown, Starbucks is shut at the moment so to make it feel like a normal Starbucks drink, we made ourselves a coffee with Starbucks coffee grounds and drank out of our branded Starbucks cups. This made us feel better about being cooped up in the house and it brought a little normality back to our day. Dave the dog kept us company while sitting in the garden.
For my breakfast, I made a batch of my favourite homemade granola. I use an online recipe and it’s all healthy things that go into it. To make it even better I ate it with Greek yoghurt and honey which was delicious!
This afternoon, me and my brother and sister decided to play a game of cards online with our dad. It’s been really tough to not see my dad as regularly as usual and the four of us always play cards together. So doing this was a great way to reconnect with our dad. We played a game called ‘hearts’ and there was lots of betrayal and ganging up to try and mess over whoever was winning at the time. My family and I are all competitive, and as a result of this, we never have a dull game of cards. That at least hadn’t changed.
Today was a very slow start indeed. When my alarm woke me I truly did not want to leave my bed. Every day has been tough in it’s own ways but today felt even harder. Everyone’s morales felt low this morning which made it even more difficult as sometimes we can help each other. But not today.
My dog, Dave, was acting up on the morning walk which felt as though it was foreshadowing the theme of the day to come. But thankfully, the day did brighten up. My brother went on a long run which always helps his mood. My mum went into the garden and worked out there for hours which she loves to do. My sister and her boyfriend (who has moved in due to lockdown) took Dave on another walk and this time he behaved really well.
And I decided to do what I do best. Organisation. In order to organise my mind, I love to make timetables of my day, week or even life! So, I began making a daily timetable for everyone in the house. This was including times Dave would be walked, when people would go out for their exercise, when we would do yoga and when the “at home” workers of the house would do their work. I colour coordinated everything and did fancy writing. It makes me happy to look at it.
Today I woke up to bright sunshine and warmth. This was a welcome change compared to the past couple days of rain and cloud. I decided I would make the most of it by sitting in my back garden, having breakfast and reading my book. After this I went on a long walk by myself. After about an half an hour of walking I decided to take a break and sit at the duck pond that I came across. I watched a few young kids who were there with their parents feeding the swans. This reminded me of when I was a child, my family and I used to go to the river in my town to feed the different birds. I wished today that I had bread with me so I could feed the swans like I did when I was young. But watching them splash around and nibble away at the bread crusts made me feel as though I was part of it now, even from far away.
When I was walking home I saw one of my friends from school. We stood two metres apart and talked to each other briefly. I’m not sure what we’re supposed to do when you see someone you know on the street, you can’t ignore them, but we kept our distance and had a shouty conversation with each other. It was so odd speaking to someone in person – its amazing how quickly we’ve got used not to seeing people face to face. It was great to see her again after what seemed like the longest week ever! It made us both frustrated that we couldn’t walk side by side like normal or talk for long but I suppose that’s the way things are at the moment. We spoke about how school had been rushed to an end and how we would’ve both appreciated the extra two weeks we should have had. It’s a real shame we didn’t get our sixth year end like we hoped for but whilst we spoke we realised that we did in fact turn the last couple days of school into a good laugh. As we both set off home it felt strange not to hug her goodbye but I fought the urge and walked home slowly.