The Children’s Play Policy Forum has today issued a policy statement identifying a crisis in childhood and calling for more children’s play opportunities. The cancellation of public liability insurance for children’s playgrounds comes at a time when new research is encouraging less screen time and more outdoor play.
The Children’s Play Policy Forum is made up of play specialists from across the UK who are warning that modern life is squeezing play – especially outdoor play – to the margins of children’s lives limiting the natural growth and development that occurs when children play. The statement entitled “Play Builds Children” goes on to say that mental health of a generation is at risk. Obesity in children is at epidemic levels and increases in life expectancy have stalled.
Chair of the Children’s Play Policy Forum Robin Sutcliffe said:
“In all the 20 years that I have been involved with the Forum we have never before made a statement as to our position on children’s play. The need for such a statement has never been so urgent, the importance of play never so great, nor the rewards so significant. My hope is that, in the light of interest in the current issues of Adventure Playgrounds, the significance of this statement to the wellbeing and potential for our children will be realised and supported. It is vital to recognise that Play Builds Children”
The Children’s Play Policy Forum warns that the cost to society of allowing these trends to continue is significant including the human cost of physical and mental ill-health, an increased demand on public services, and damage to the economy through lost productivity and skills gaps.
The recent announcements from Matt Hancock MP detailing the NHS preventative agenda is to be welcomed, but the CPPF insist that lack of play leaves children mentally and physically unprepared to cope with life. On the other hand, there are huge benefits to be gained when sufficient time and space is available for children to play every day. These benefits contribute to the prevention of the prime issues of health, mental health, obesity and school exclusion – key issues in need of urgent resolution. Play builds happy, healthy children.
The CPPF policy statement calls on Government, the devolved administrations and local authorities to work together and make sure that children and society are not fundamentally damaged by the lack of play in children’s everyday lives.