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“Once upon a time…” Celebrating National Playday Wednesday 5 August

Date: Wednesday 5 August
Author:
Cllr Penny Frost
Title: Chair of the Education and Children’s Services Committee

“Once upon a time,” children’s play encompassed all those delicious unstructured moments for youngsters to enjoy themselves together, letting their imaginations run riot as they ran, swung on swings, clambered over obstacles and through brambles, learning about themselves and how to take smaller risks safely as they unwittingly prepared themselves for their more structured lives as adults. National Playday, acknowledged every first Wednesday of August, was established to recognise children’s right to play, with fun events held across the whole country.

This year, in these uncertain times of COVID, social distancing has stopped so many fun outdoor events for us all, but play remains as important as ever to support children to develop confidence, creativity and problem-solving skills, and contribute to their learning and development. We all know that playing, singing and laughing are all central to children’s happiness and their physical, mental and emotional health and well-being, enabling them to cope with stress, anxiety and challenges - particularly important right now.

During lockdown and home schooling, children have had an opportunity to explore the imaginative side of all the regular household chores that they may have been involved in. Many parents and carers have learned the fun of cooking with their children, weighing and measuring, strengthening their finger-tip skills with stirring and pastry making, and discovering the delicious effect of the chemical reactions in their baking. As I am sure Mary Poppins would agree, there is fun to had with all the bubbles as they try their hand at washing up, or collecting and cooking blackberries, and painting the stones and pine cones collected from your nature walks.

So, on this National Playday, let us celebrate all the ways that children can explore great play opportunities at home. COVID won’t last for ever, but neither does childhood, and we owe it to our children’s future to help them enjoy their imaginations now.

Young people are reminded to check Achieving for Children’s calendar of events for things to do in the borough this summer. From today until 4 September, there are 214 events happening! This includes things like sports at Heatham House Youth Centre (badminton, table tennis, football, basketball), online running clubs, online music skills sessions and creative art sessions.

Updated: 24 March 2021