Support is growing for a ‘summer of play’ in 2021 to help children recover from the pandemic year. Hand Made Places believes active and imaginative play is one of the best ways for young people to learn. And as a member of the Association of Play Industries, we agree that the importance of playgrounds can’t be overlooked. Play areas provide safe zones for children to socialise, let off steam, have fun, and connect with their community. In Scotland, a £20 million fund will deliver a range of activities to young people this summer as well as widen access to facilities. The Scottish Government says this will address the physical and mental health impact the pandemic has had on children, with an education recovery strategy to be developed over the next few months. In England, a £1.7 billion catch-up programme will fund summer schools, tutoring and a sport and activity action plan. But education and development experts and child psychologists fear that free play at school and at home is being overtaken by pressures to perform academically. Instead of extra lessons this summer, they want children to spend time having fun outdoors with their friends.
The benefits of a Hand Made Places playground
Young people of all abilities can enjoy the play equipment we design, manufacture and install at Hand Made Places. Being physically active and spending time outdoors are associated with many positive benefits for health and wellbeing. Community playgrounds are free and open to all, helping to reduce barriers to outdoor activities such as cost and travel. And having an exciting and fun playground on their doorstep encourages children to take a break from their screens and get out in the fresh air.
Almost 10 per cent of reception age children are obese with a further 13 per cent overweight. (House of Commons Obesity Statistics January 2021 from the National Child Measurement Programme.) Outdoor play encourages physical activity and positive behaviours which can improve health outcomes for children.
Outdoor play is a fun way to learn. Our play equipment is designed to inspire children to investigate new situations and express themselves freely. From playhouses to adventure trails, our equipment acts as a prop for children to follow their interests.
ENGAGES EVERY CHILD
Our diverse and accessible equipment includes sensory experiences and play opportunities for all children regardless of ability. The rich mix of features brings young people together to interact with each other and the environment.
Outdoor play motivates children to take risks in a safe environment. It challenges them to push their boundaries and allows them to develop multi-tasking and problem-solving skills while building resilience and confidence.
Outdoor activities make for memorable experiences which can help improve attainment. They engage all children, including those who don’t thrive in traditional classrooms, and focus the brain to benefit learning.
BUILDS HEALTHY BODIES AND MINDS
Physical activity contributes to the development of healthy habits in later life. Exercise is crucial for strengthening muscles and bones and supports good mental health, encouraging better self-esteem and boosting mood and alertness.
INTEGRATES SOCIAL GROUPS
Play equipment from Hand Made Places is designed to create different types of space from noisy, physical challenges to sensory parks or creative areas. It brings children together to form friendships and share ideas through common interests.
CAPTIVATES THE SENSES
Sensory play equipment helps children to process new information and enriches their learning. It encourages independent thinking and inspires the imagination. A sensory environment supports language development and cognitive skills.
BOOSTS VITAMIN D ABSORPTION
Vitamin D comes from sunlight and is essential for healthy bones, teeth and muscles. Safe sun exposure, without risking sun damage, can be achieved by playing outdoors, while a blast of fresh air helps everyone to feel better.
From adventure trails to imaginative play, more time outdoors is an education in itself and can support performance in the classroom. Hand Made Places supports calls for a #summerofplay and is working in neighbourhoods across the UK to create safe, child-friendly areas that young people the space and freedom to enjoy themselves. To improve your community playground facilities, take a look at our brochure online or get in touch to discuss your plans.