All children are born with the need to play regardless of their ability, race, culture or gender. Children have more freedom when they are playing and this is really important. It means they are able to learn about themselves, the people around them and the wider world at their own pace. The discoveries children make and the skills they gain when they can lead their own play helps to build their confidence and their desire to discover more.
Playing is essential for:
- brain development
- physical activity
- developing coordination
- increasing language and literacy skills
- developing social skills
- increasing emotional awareness
- supporting a child’ overall well-being.
What do children need to play?
Children will play anywhere given the opportunity. It is important for them to be given the time and opportunity to play in different kinds of places, including indoors and outdoors. They also need encouraging adults around them who allow them to play freely while ensuring they remain safe.
What’s happening in Wales?
Although modern life has reduced the opportunities for children to play independently (particularly outdoors), play is recognised as being crucially important in the development of a child’s physical, social, emotional and creative skills (Welsh Government Play Policy 2002).
The Welsh Government has therefore placed a duty on all local councils to provide sufficient play opportunities for children living in their areas and to provide local people with information about what is available. This information should be readily available on their website.
Play Wales provides advice and guidance to those who have an interest in, or are responsible for, providing children’s play.