Return to roots: How the pandemic shaped outdoor play

Children had been spending less and less time outdoors before the coronavirus pandemic hit.

While coronavirus caused the closures of schools and indoor childcare across Scotland, parents, carers and playmakers were forced to come up with alternatives – in the great outdoors.

A report by national charity Play Scotland explains how fundamental play is for children’s emotional and physical wellbeing. For children, play is not only exercise, it is also how they process their emotions, including their fears, and has been shown to help children deal with diversity.

A consultation undertaken by Play Scotland in early 2021 found children were trying to express feelings about freedom.

Marguerite Hunter Blair, CEO of Play Scotland, said: “Children had never understood what that concept meant before, but they understood it when it was denied.”

Following the initial lockdown, evidence was presented to the government showing that the risks of transmitting the virus among children under 12 years old was very low.

It was decided they did not need to follow the same rules as older children or adults, meaning they did not count towards the number of people who could meet up or have to obey social distancing.

This, Play Scotland said, was a lifeline that prevented the most harmful factor in deprivation of play – the duration of such restrictions.

But with tighter guidelines still imposed on regulated childcare services, those falling outside of the Care Inspectorate’s remit were given the opportunity to adapt and thrive.

“There is no one better than playworkers to adapt and thrive”.

Marguerite Hunter Blair, CEO Play Scotland

Full article here.