This World Play Day, we want to take a moment to reflect on how the magic and power of play has helped children deal with the COVID-19 crisis over the last twelve months.
A child turning four in 2021 will have spent one quarter of their lives under some form of confinement measures. Like children of all ages, their experience of the world in the last year has been shaped by masked faces, keeping a distance, disrupted routines, interrupted formal education, lost cuddles from extended family, reduced opportunities to make and meet friends and, at the most difficult moments, they have been forbidden from leaving their home. The measures that have been needed to face the COVID-19 pandemic have also undeniably impacted on play – one of the most important activities in children’s lives.
In normal times, a balanced play diet is essential for children’s well-being and development
There are a wealth of studies showing how different types of play enrich children’s lives and its central role in their health, well-being and development. To get the most out of play, it is important that children are empowered to engage in a range of different types of play as part of a ‘balanced play diet’. As the tools of play, toys help children to achieve this. Studies have also found that toys help keep children playing for longer periods of time.
During times of crisis, it’s even more essential that children keep playing
The International Play Association notes in its publication Play in Times of Crisis that play helps children stay emotionally healthy, be physically active, relax and forget about worries, understand new experiences and changes, and cope with feelings that are difficult and frightening. Yet a study by the IPA showed that around the world children’s play has been massively curtailed by lockdown.
Lets Celebrate the Magic and Power of Play
That’s why, this World Play Day, we want to celebrate how the magic and power of play has helped children around the world deal with the COVID-19 crisis and call on decision makers everywhere to recognise just how essential it is in children’s lives!