Article published on 24 July 2017

Play is essential to a child’s physical and mental well-being; it supports development, crucial for a child as she transitions through the key stages of life.

Our local parks provide the ideal environment to facilitate this. They offer an outdoor safe environment to play for children and families particularly important where apartment living for many offers no outdoor space to play at home.

play area

Having open spaces is essential for children to run, explore, climb trees, ride bikes and let off steam with their friends, however not all children are afforded the independence to play in this environment. ‘Helicopter parenting’ is an emerging phenomenon, the outcome being that children are not given the independence and freedom of play that previous generations of children enjoyed.

This means that there is even greater pressure for play spaces to deliver a valuable and high quality experience for all children. How? Through clearly identifiable play spaces within parks.

Traditional fixed play equipment within these spaces provides a haven for children to play alongside their parents and family. Children will experience moving sensations, such as rocking, spinning, sliding and will be able to assess risk and challenge whilst experiencing pure exhilaration through play.

Open natural landscape alongside quality play provision is crucial and highlights the importance of play to children in a society where inactivity and obesity levels are rising and threatening children’s health and wellbeing.

The API (Association of Play Industries) has undertaken research which has uncovered during 2014-15 that 112 playgrounds have been closed and in 2015-16 a further 102 were shut down.  The reason cited for this was 92% of local authorities reported a budget reduction over the last 3 years effecting these closures.

Therefore, we are fully supporting the #Nowhere2play campaign from the API which is lobbying for Government funding to arrest future closures and protect the accessible places to play that are so important for the health and well-being of children and families.

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