Children have the right and need to play. London Play works to raise awareness among decision makers, influencers, parents and teachers about the vital importance of unstructured play to children’s health and happiness.
But children today spend half the time playing outside that their parents did:
The lure of screens: the amount of time children spend in front of screens has more than doubled over the past 25 years, to more than six hours a day. Some 41 per cent of children agree that screen time has affected their time for play.
Academic pressure: Children in the UK start school earlier than in most other countries in Europe, usually at the age of four. Pressure to perform academically starts immediately, with baseline assessments in maths and English given in the first six weeks; and continues from there. The government’s coronavirus recovery rhetoric has been centred on academic ‘catchup’. School playtime is also under threat.
Less unstructured free time: out of school and outside the home, children’s time is increasingly focused on structured, supervised activities.
London Play strives to communicate the importance of giving time for play the same priority as time for sleep, school and extra-curricular enrichment activities.