Play is the best way of getting children active, because they enjoy it! When children are asked about what they think is important in their lives, playing and friends is usually at the top of the list.
Play England’s Street Play project has identified increases in children’s physical activity when they play out.
The University of Bristol’s evaluation of Play England’s Street Play project used accelerometers and GPS to track children whilst playing. It identified increases in children’s moderate to vigorous physical activity.
“Encouraging active play at younger ages is important and can help develop healthy habits, enjoyment of physical activity and physical literacy skills.”
National Sports Strategy, 2015
The Street Play project data showed that outdoor, active play was more likely to replace sedentary and screen-based activities, than physical activities. Increased community cohesion was also identified through an in depth study of parents’ views.
After school ‘critical window’
The evaluation of Play England’s Street Play project found that the hours between 3:30pm and 6pm on weekdays are the ‘critical window’ for children’s physical activity and it is during this time when differences in weekday physical activity between low and high active children and non-obese and obese children are greatest. Currently only 13% of 10 and 11 year old children are outdoors and active during this time.
Play is a child’s human right
Play is so important to children’s development it is recognized by the United Nations. Article 31 of the UN Convention of the Rights of the Child (UNCRC) states: ‘Children have the right to relax and play, and to join in a wide range of cultural, artistic and other recreational activities’.
By offering free play opportunities for children after school and during the summer holiday, Adventure into Sport helps children and their families to access regular physical activity with the support of friendly, trained staff.