Today, Wednesday 3 August, is national Playday. This day for play is celebrated across the UK with children, families and communities coming together to enjoy a day of fun.
This year, the campaign theme – All to play for – highlights the importance of building play opportunities for all children. Play happens everywhere, every day, and is the right of every child and young person.
The benefits and siginificance of play:
- Play is essential for children and young people’s physical and mental health.
- Play allows children and young people to make friends, develop relationships, and have fun together.
- Play enables children and young people to feel connected to their communities, leading to happier communities for all.
- Play has an important role in helping children and young people cope with stress and anxiety, deal with challenges, and make sense of what’s happening around them.
Playboard NI is calling for more play, better play, every day! Playday encourages families, communities, and organisations large and small, to consider how they can build better opportunities for all children to play. Following two years of restrictions across the UK and the challenges children and young people have faced, play is more important than ever!
Alan Herron, Chief Executive Officer, PlayBoard NI said:
“Playday is the highlight of our calendar and an opportunity to shine a light on the central role play has in the healthy development of children and young people. We encourage families and communities to enjoy time together playing outdoors on 3 August. Quality opportunities for children to play are essential and we are delighted to see the support for Playday across Northern Ireland.”
Need some ideas? Here are some different ways to play:
Play that engages our children’s imaginations is not just great fun, but helps build their cognitive skills. Most kids need very little encouragement to play ‘let’s pretend’ games, create fantasy worlds or invent new games. Why not see if they’ll let you join in? Imaginative play is great for adults, too! Participating in your kids’ imaginative play is a whole new way to relate to them, and could help deepen your relationship.
Need some ideas to get started? Why not:
- Cook an imaginary meal together. Get creative with ingredients and methods!
- Have an invisible picnic! What will you eat? What does it taste like?
- Play superheroes – what would your super powers be? Are you a goodie or a baddie?
A great way to take advantage of the better weather is to get outside and make a big old mess together! Messy play is a great sensory experience for your kids. Let’s face it – it’s great fun for us too! Try making fizzy cloud dough together:
What you need:
- 1 cup of flour
- 1 cup of baking soda
- 1/4 cup vegetable oil
- Oil-based or powder food colouring
- A mixing bowl
- A tub for playing in
Mix together the flour, baking soda, oil and food colouring in a mixing bowl until you have a dry doughy type consistency. This is your cloud dough!
Let your kids explore the texture by moulding and shaping it. Then the real fun comes with the fizz! Try using a dropper or squirt bottle to add different amounts of vinegar to see what it does to your dough.
Play that supports growing brains
In our June issue, we featured ten crafts that support a child’s cognitive development. In an age of screens and digital games, it’s important to have a balance. We’ve included three ideas below, and you can read all ten on page 12 here: https://edition.pagesuite-professional.co.uk/html5/reader/production/default.aspx?pubname=&edid=eff4890f-f753-48e5-86c0-ca3419046d04
- Foam stamps – help your child to draw their own shapes on to foam sheets and cut out, before glueing them to a bottle cap or other flat object to act as a grip. Dip them in poster paints and press onto sheets to create endless designs.
- Bird feeder – poke a lollipop stick through a loo roll tube to create the base. Let your child coat it in peanut butter – or an alternative like sun butter or almond butter if there are allergies – and stick birdseed to the butter. Thread a pipe cleaner through the top to act as a handle and hang it from a tree.
- Jellyfish eyes – take a sandwich/ziplock bag and draw a jellyfish on it with a marker like a Sharpie (make sure the ink is dry before it’s played with!). Add hair gel, glitter and some googly eyes into the bag and seal tightly. Let your little one ‘squish’ the glittery goop to move the eyes into the right place! Great for sensory development and hand-eye coordination.