Prioritising Play in the School Day: 11th Jun 2-3pm

As children’s free play has been eroded by structured activities and too much time spent indoors (often on screens), school staff and children from across Swansea and children are taking part in a ‘playground takeover’ between 2pm and 3pm on 11th June at Clwyd Community Primary School. This aims to highlight play and its wealth of benefits for children on the first ever International Day of Play.

Children from Clwyd Community Primary School will be taking over the playground to engage in play that interests and excites them, whilst also highlighting the importance of play during the school day. And what’s more, this will be fully endorsed and enabled by their teachers, Clybiau Plant Cymru Kids’ Clubs’ Playwork trainers and the local authority, who will be available to observe, enjoy and help if needed. There will be a range of resources that stimulates imagination and encourages the children to explore and engage with their peers.

We sometimes forget that simple, unadulterated, self-directed play can help our children be happy, have fun and make friends, as well as build resilience, overcome adversity and boost physical health (and lifelong engagement with physical activities). Skills are also developed that are critical for engaging with school life and lifelong achievements. These benefits, derived so easily, but often not prioritised, are particularly welcome when faced with distressing news stories about children’s declining physical and mental health.

We all need to make play a priority for children. It needn’t cost anything, doesn’t necessarily need any props (although loose parts such as shells, sticks, pebbles are ideal and free) and it’s something we can all encourage anywhere, anytime, with a multitude of wellbeing and health benefits for our children.

The United Nations General Assembly has adopted 11th June as an International Day of Play to celebrate and promote children’s right to play and all the benefits that this affords children across the world. And it’s apt to celebrate in Wales, as it was the first country in the world to legislate for children’s right to play as part of the Children and Families (Wales) Measure 2010. This means that Welsh Government and local decision makers must consider this and other rights in all of their decision making and planning.

Also taking part in the playground takeover, is a range of learners embarking on a Playwork career as they undertake their Playwork qualification and ensure that generations of children to come can benefit from the benefits of good, old fashioned play.

Contact: Jane O’Toole 

List of key messages: Importance of Play and adults understanding and facilitation

[1] Healthy childhood development through outdoor risky play: Navigating the balance with injury prevention | Canadian Paediatric Society (