Join the pledge! Summer of Play

Children today have two years less freedom than their parents

Children bear brunt of mental health crisis

Scotland leads with summer of play

Hackney bus to play on

Play and the pandemic study launched

Parents support wellbeing catchup

Concerns over long term impact of play deficit

Time for a play catchup

The London Play is one of many organisations behind the #SummerOfPlay campaign, to give children the space, time, and freedom to play this summer as Covid-19 restrictions are eased. Can your organisation join the pledge?

For more than a year, children across the UK have been forced to spend time indoors, inactive and isolated from friends due to Covid-19 restrictions. It is not surprising that we have seen unprecedented increases in children’s mental health problems and loneliness, alongside reduced physical activity.

In response, child psychologists, paediatricians and educators have independently and urgently called for play to be central to children’s recovery from the Covid-19 pandemic, and many others agree. Together we now are calling for everyone to help make this summer a #SummerOfPlay for children across the UK.

“After everything children have been through over the last year, we are calling on organisations to sign the pledge to support children’s play this summer.”

To join the #SummerOfPlay campaign, please take the pledge to enable all children, in all our communities, to have space and time for play this summer by supporting fun, friends, and freedom.

Sign the pledge here

Play news
The Scottish government has pledged £20m in funding to ensure that children have a Summer of Play to help address the impacts associated with extended periods of isolation and reduced participation in normal activities.
London Play in the news
London Play has joined academics and other play campaigners in calling on the government to support 'a summer of play' to help children recover from the stress of lockdown and a year of Covid upheaval.

FIND A PLACE TO PLAY

Click here to go to our play map and find adventure playgrounds, play streets and all our other favourite places to play in London.
VISIT OUR PLAY MAP

London Play will be bringing joy back to the city streets this summer as part of the Mayor’s ‘Let’s Do London’ campaign, to encourage Londoners and visitors back into the capital.

Mayor of London press release

Sadiq Khan formally signed in for a second term as Mayor of London on Monday 10 May, on stage at the iconic Shakespeare’s Globe, as he announced plans for the biggest domestic tourism campaign the capital has ever seen to help London’s economy get back on its feet as COVID restrictions are eased.

An immediate priority for the Mayor will be his new ‘Let’s Do London’ campaign, launching today, which is being created in partnership with the city’s hospitality, culture, and retail industries. The flagship campaign to encourage Londoners and visitors back into central London will include a programme of one-off special events created in partnership with London’s best-known cultural institutions and tourism attractions. It will kick off later this month

Kicking off in spring with  the capital’s famous chefs, foodies and hospitality venues coming together to promote and celebrate London’s world-class food offer, the summer will offer families and children a plethora of free, joyful opportunities.

London Play, the capital’s leading charity for children’s play, will be opening up central London for families and transforming streets with play.

Other summer attractions will include the London Festival of Hope which “will bring a true celebration of life with an art and photography contest, competitions for all the family including an amateur ‘bake-off’, community activations, giant inflatables taking over London’s skyline and a series of outdoor live music concerts that will reimagine the performance space.” The Southbank Centre will welcome audiences back with their Summer Reunion programme – 15 consecutive weekends of free outdoor activity from and the Tate Modern will also be offering large scale free activities during the summer.

Click here for full details in the press release on the Mayor of London website.

London Play Press Releases
More than four square kilometres of temporary play space was created in an instant last month as Londoners came out to play on their car free streets.
A single donation will help us with our work today; a regular donation will help us plan for the future. There are a number of ways that you can donate:

FIND A PLACE TO PLAY

Click here to go to our play map and find adventure playgrounds, play streets and all our other favourite places to play in London.
VISIT OUR PLAY MAP

The British Children’s Play Survey finds most children turn 11 before they can play outside unsupervised.

The Guardian

Primary-age children in Britain are losing the freedom to play independently and typically are not are allowed to play outside on their own until two years older than their parents’ generation were, according to research.

While their parents were allowed to play outside unsupervised by the age of nine on average, today’s children are 11 by the time they reach the same milestone, according to the study, which says not enough adventurous play could affect children’s long-term physical and mental health.

One expert said the findings showed that British children had been subject to “a gradual, creeping lockdown over at least a generation”.

Researchers asked more than 1,900 parents of five-to-11-year-olds about their children’s play for the British Children’s Play Survey, the largest study of its kind. They found that children averaged three hours of play a day over the course of a year, around half of which took place outside.

For more on this story visit The Guardian website.

Adventure play
OK, so WE KNOW that adventure playgrounds are worth their weight in gold. Our Play Works project (2015-20) supported play workers to make sure they had the evidence to convince potential funders of the same.
A single donation will help us with our work today; a regular donation will help us plan for the future. There are a number of ways that you can donate:

FIND A PLACE TO PLAY

Click here to go to our play map and find adventure playgrounds, play streets and all our other favourite places to play in London.
VISIT OUR PLAY MAP

The number of children seeking help for mental health problems increased by 28% during the pandemic, new figures have revealed.

local.gov.uk

Analysis of NHS Digital data by the Royal College of Psychiatrists shows that children have been most affected by the ‘mental health crisis’.

The data shows 80,226 more children and young people were referred to CYP mental health services between April and December last year, up by 28% on 2019.

More than 18,000 children and young people needed urgent or emergency crisis care during this time, an increase of 18% on 2019.

Dr Bernadka Dubicka, chair of the child and adolescent faculty at the Royal College of Psychiatrists, said:

‘Our children and young people are bearing the brunt of the mental health crisis caused by the pandemic and are at risk of lifelong mental illness. As a frontline psychiatrist I’ve seen the devastating effect that school closures, disrupted friendships and the uncertainty caused by the pandemic have had on the mental health of our children and young people.”

The Royal College of Psychiatrists is calling for the additional £500m promised for mental health to urgently reach the frontline to tackle the crisis.

More on this story at local.gov.uk.

Adventure play
OK, so WE KNOW that adventure playgrounds are worth their weight in gold. Our Play Works project (2015-20) supported play workers to make sure they had the evidence to convince potential funders of the same.
A single donation will help us with our work today; a regular donation will help us plan for the future. There are a number of ways that you can donate:

FIND A PLACE TO PLAY

Click here to go to our play map and find adventure playgrounds, play streets and all our other favourite places to play in London.
VISIT OUR PLAY MAP

The Scottish government has pledged £20m in funding to help address the impacts on children of extended periods of isolation and reduced participation in normal activities during the pandemic.

Funding of £20 million will deliver a range of activities for children and young people and their families over the summer, ensuring they are provided with opportunities to socialise, play and reconnect within their local communities and environments.

In particular this will provide support for those children and young people who may otherwise struggle to access such experiences during the holidays.

Working with local authorities and partner organisations including sportscotland, Creative Scotland, Play Scotland, Education Scotland and others, the funding will support existing provision of community-based services while also widening access to other local facilities, such as school estates and local sports facilities

Deputy First Minister John Swinney said:

“We do not underestimate the physical and mental health impacts which children and young people have experienced throughout the pandemic, and that the impacts have fallen unequally across society.

“This enhanced range of summer experiences for children and young people will help address the impacts associated with extended periods of isolation and reduced participation in normal activities. This offer will have children’s rights and needs at its heart, and will provide opportunities to socialise across a range of activities, combined with broader support where needed.

More on this story here.

Adventure play
OK, so WE KNOW that adventure playgrounds are worth their weight in gold. Our Play Works project (2015-20) supported play workers to make sure they had the evidence to convince potential funders of the same.
A single donation will help us with our work today; a regular donation will help us plan for the future. There are a number of ways that you can donate:

FIND A PLACE TO PLAY

Click here to go to our play map and find adventure playgrounds, play streets and all our other favourite places to play in London.
VISIT OUR PLAY MAP

The team behind Hackney Playbus has raised more than £30,000 to build a new travelling play centre to provide free support to the borough’s children and families.

Hackney Gazette

A double-decker, the brightly coloured Hackney Playbus has been on the road since 1972, visiting different parts of Hackney to provide play and learning opportunities for children aged up to four-years-old.

Last March due to Covid-19 restrictions, the service was halted. Then the bus then had to be taken off the road completely because the original 1999 vehicle failed to comply with the Low Emission Zone Euro VI standards that came into effect in March 2021.

Clapton Trustree, for the Hackney Playbus, Emma Bridge, 49, said:

“We deliver Playbus sessions in the local community, parking [it] in housing estates or in nearby parks to give families a safe place to play, which is especially important for families living in cramped or overcrowded conditions.”

Run by a number of paid playworkers and volunteers, the team developed remote services over lockdown, including online play sessions and arranging access to essentials like nappies and food.

More on this story at the Hackney Gazette.

Adventure play
OK, so WE KNOW that adventure playgrounds are worth their weight in gold. Our Play Works project (2015-20) supported play workers to make sure they had the evidence to convince potential funders of the same.
A single donation will help us with our work today; a regular donation will help us plan for the future. There are a number of ways that you can donate:

FIND A PLACE TO PLAY

Click here to go to our play map and find adventure playgrounds, play streets and all our other favourite places to play in London.
VISIT OUR PLAY MAP

A national ‘observatory’ of children’s play experiences during Covid-19 is being led by academics at UCL and the University of Sheffield.

Nursery World

 

The research project, known as The Play Observatory, has been funded by the Economic and Social Research Council’s Covid-19 rapid response call, to research children’s play during this unique time in history.

An online survey was released, inviting children, young people and adults to share examples of their play.

Researchers at UCL Institute of Education; the University of Sheffield and UCL Centre for Advanced Spatial Analysis, have been documenting the many ways that children are playing from the outset of the pandemic onwards: by themselves and with others; indoors and outdoors; with and without screens.

More on this story at Nursery World.

Children and young people
In this briefing note, data collected in the last week of February 2021 is analysed to understand parents’ views about two important aspects of the return to school.
Current work
2021: The Play Street Carousel is a unique project that harnesses the power of play to strengthen bonds between neighbours, even as the pandemic keeps us all apart.

FIND A PLACE TO PLAY

Click here to go to our play map and find adventure playgrounds, play streets and all our other favourite places to play in London.
VISIT OUR PLAY MAP

A huge majority of parents favour ‘catch up’ policies that would improve their children’s wellbeing, research by the Institute for Fiscal Studies has shown.

Simply reopening the school gates will not be enough on its own; addressing the consequences of the pandemic is set to be the most important challenge in education policy over the coming years.

IFS surveyed almost 6,000 parents of school-aged children in England during the last week of February and found that while support for academic catch up policies (and particularly tutoring) is also high, support for policies that would see children spending more time in the classroom – such as longer, school days, summer school, extended school terms, or repeating school years – is below half.

Of the 83 per cent who supported policies aimed at children’s well-being, the largest share believed that in-class activities (such as arts, creative writing or spending time outdoors) would make the biggest difference. Around a quarter of parents prioritised greater access to mental health services. However, only 12 per cent thought that unstructured socialisation time (aka play) should be the top priority.

More on this story is on the IFS website here.

London Play in the news
London Play has joined academics and other play campaigners in calling on the government to support 'a summer of play' to help children recover from the stress of lockdown and a year of Covid upheaval.
A single donation will help us with our work today; a regular donation will help us plan for the future. There are a number of ways that you can donate:

FIND A PLACE TO PLAY

Click here to go to our play map and find adventure playgrounds, play streets and all our other favourite places to play in London.
VISIT OUR PLAY MAP

Parents are worried that the loss of freedom to play during the pandemic could have a long term impact on their children, according to new research.

To understand the impact of the pandemic on children and how they play, Great Ormond Street Hospital Charity and Savanta ComRes polled 2,543 parents of children aged between five – 11 years old, from across the UK.

More than half of parents responding say play has boosted family bonds, but they raise the alarm about the loss of kids’ freedom.

More than half of UK parents (61%) say that the pandemic has gifted them more time to play with their children and the same proportion say it has helped boost family bonds, reveals a new ‘State of Play’ report released by Great Ormond Street Hospital Children’s Charity (GOSH Charity) today.

“One of the best ways to support children’s wellbeing is giving them the freedom to play. This is not only relevant in a hospital setting such as GOSH, but for all children as they look to cope with whatever challenges they face, including during a global pandemic.”

At a time when kids face huge levels of uncertainty, three-quarters (74%) of parents say that play has “helped their child cope” as the world around them has changed beyond recognition. But more than a year on from the start of the pandemic, parents say the loss of their kid’s freedom to play with friends and wider family is taking its toll, with two thirds (66%) voicing concern about the long term impact this will have on their child’s wellbeing.

More information and a link to the full report is here.

Play news
Four out of five parents support education catch up policies to support their children's wellbeing according to the IFS.
Play news
Withdrawing play time from school children as punishment is an infringement of children's human rights and is a practice which should be stopped, says the British Psychological Society.

FIND A PLACE TO PLAY

Click here to go to our play map and find adventure playgrounds, play streets and all our other favourite places to play in London.
VISIT OUR PLAY MAP

As children return to school today after an enforced absence of more than two months, the sacrifices that they have made during the coronavirus pandemic are high on the public radar.

London Play

And as experts debate the best approach to help children recover, their emotional and mental wellbeing – and not just the gaps in their schooling – is rightly in their sights.

Writing in the Observer this weekend, the recently-appointed education recovery commissioner Sir Kevan Collins acknowledged that what children have lost extends way beyond educational attainment:

“Over the last year children have also lost out on countless other opportunities to learn and grow – through engagement in art, music, sport and play.”

He suggested that a comprehensive plan for recovery should span at least the next three years and that “nothing is off the table” in formulating this. He was clear too, that “the burden of recovery cannot be borne by schools alone.”

This is clearly an opportunity for the play sector to step up and offer to share this burden as the experts in promoting children’s wellbeing through play. If more evidence was needed, research published this week by Great Ormond Street Hospital Charity concludes that “one of the best ways to support children’s wellbeing is giving them the freedom to play. This is not only relevant in a hospital setting such as GOSH, but for all children as they try to cope with whatever challenges they face, including a global pandemic.”

Parents have watched, aghast, the impact of play deprivation on their children during repeated lockdowns.  The GOSH research found that one year on, “parents say the loss of their kid’s freedom to play with friends and wider family is taking its toll, with two thirds (66 per cent) voicing concern about the long term impact this will have on their child’s wellbeing.”

Meanwhile the Institute for Fiscal Studies (IFS) surveyed almost 6,000 parents of school-aged children in England during the last week of February. Their findings show that a huge majority of parents (83 per cent) favour ‘catch up’ policies that would improve their children’s wellbeing. And while support for academic catch up policies (and particularly tutoring) is also high, support for policies that would see children spending more time in the classroom – such as longer, school days, summer school, extended school terms, or repeating school years – is much lower.

The government has already announced a £10m injection for additional after school sports programmes. This is to be welcomed but the interventions need to go much, much further.  Sustained support for play – to fund quality spaces and trained staff – will be a crucial element for a successful recovery.

Play news
The team behind Hackney Playbus has raised more than £30,000 to build a new travelling play centre to provide free support to the borough’s children and families.
Remembering London Play in your will could allow a future generation to benefit from the space and freedom you enjoyed in your youth.

FIND A PLACE TO PLAY

Click here to go to our play map and find adventure playgrounds, play streets and all our other favourite places to play in London.
VISIT OUR PLAY MAP