“Investing in children’s play is one of the most important things we can do to improve children’s health and wellbeing in Scotland.”
Sir Harry Burns, Chief Medical Officer Scotland
To help communities and local authorities assess how well they are investing in children’s play, - Play Scotland have produced a toolkit called called ‘Getting it Right for Play’. The resource consists of a review of the evidence base for play and a toolkit for the assessing play spaces and opportunities. The toolkit is designed for a range of agencies used but is best used as part of a partnership which can connect with a range of skills and resources.
The Toolkit was produced to help local authorities provide sufficient play opportunities in terms of quantity and quality, and allow them to assess easily if:
- Local people including children have been meaningfully involved in developing local play opportunities
- Local attitudes to children are improving
- Benefits as well as risks are being considered in the design and maintenance of play areas
- Relevant agencies and departments are working together to promote local play opportunities
- Children are satisfied with the play opportunities provided
Play is fun – but also its key to growing up healthy and and able to cope with the challenges life throws at us.
Do we take play seriously enough?
Do we plan for children’s play?
Do we make it easy for parents to play with children?
The following is from the Play Scotland review of evidence and perhaps underlines how serious play is: -
Play in early childhood has been shown to influence the way the child’s brain develops. The neural and chemical reactions in the brain, created by the act of playing, support the development of coordinated physical and mental capabilities. The way in which parents play with their young children can also have an effect on their behaviour as they develop and there is some evidence that children whose parents play with them are less likely to have behaviour problems later on.
In addition, active play in early childhood helps build strong bones, muscle strength and lung capacity and, whilst playing, children use their physical skills in spontaneous ways that help them develop sophisticated physical skills and co-ordinated movements.