Ahead of the general election on 12 December PlayBoard is calling on prospective Members of Parliament to champion children’s play to help support children and young people to realise their full potential whilst contributing to a forward-looking society.

Please share this call for support with your local candidates.

Download our call for support for prospective MPs:

Download PDF

For further information read the Children’s Play Policy Forum statement on Play Builds Children:

Download Statement
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Play Builds Children

Play is critical to children and young people’s lives, supporting the development of skills and abilities that enhance social, physical and emotional well-being.

Through play children drive their own development. Play helps build stronger, healthier bodies; supports development of the brain; builds resilience and supports critical thinking and creativity.

Just as importantly, play offers fun, enjoyment and connects children to the wider community.

Play Your Role

As a prospective Member of Parliament, we are asking you to champion children’s play and in so doing, support our children and young people to realise their full potential whilst contributing to a forward-looking society.

You are uniquely placed to influence children’s experiences of play, impacting on their enjoyment of childhood whilst supporting the development of skills that will support them, and our communities throughout their lives.

Play Builds Families

Through play children learn about themselves, the world in which they live and their place in it. From an early age, through play with family members,children learn how to interact with others, recognise and address conflict, practice language skills and develop motor skills.

Playing together as a family not only benefits the child, it also helps to create a stronger family unit, benefiting long- term relationships and creates a secure environment in which the child can grow and develop.

Play Builds Futures

Play is the natural mechanism children use to develop the skills they will need to thrive in later life.

Amongst others, play supports children to develop physical literacy, problem-solving skills, social ability, resilience, creativity and
innovation.

By supporting and encouraging children to play we are helping them to not only develop skills that will benefit them as individuals but skills that will benefit wider society.

Play Builds Reconciliation

Regardless of community background, ability or interest all children have an in-built desire to play and engage with other children and young people through play. Play naturally supports children to seek out and develop relationships and friendships through a mutual urge to play and engage with others.

Where children from a range of backgrounds are afforded the opportunity to play together new connections and long-lasting friendships can be formed; friendships that can cross community backgrounds and help to build a shared future through reconciliation.

Play Builds Communities

All children have a natural desire to play in, and to engage with their community through play. Unfortunately, in many communities’ children playing, particularly outdoors, has become the exception rather than the norm.

Playing outdoors in their community helps children gain a better understanding of the world around them, allows them to interact with the wider community and opens up a range of essential learning and skills development opportunities.

You Can Show Your Support For Play By:

  • Advocating for and supporting the full incorporation of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC) into domestic law, ensuring that children across Northern Ireland can enjoy all of the rights enshrined within it.
  • Advocating for play, highlighting its critical role in children and young people’s lives and ensuring that all government legislation is subjected to scrutiny to ensure that it does not impact negatively upon, but promotes play opportunities.
  • Calling for the introduction of a statutory duty for play, requiring local authorities to assess and secure sufficient play opportunities for children in their community based on the successful model in Wales.
  • Working to ensure that adequate resources, both human and financial are made available to enhance play opportunities within communities, in schools and within childcare services.