This Taking Outdoor Play Seriously (TOPS) advice for parents focuses on why play matters. Produced ahead of the return to school after the summer holiday in 2020 and the prolonged period of lockdown and restrictions due to Covid-19, the publication highlights the importance of play and playing outdoors during the school day.
Lots of people think that play is what children do when they have nothing better to do. In fact, play often is the better thing to do! Play is important at any time.
Playing and learning outdoors, children encounter many opportunities to grow, develop and learn, such as:
- Improving physical fitness
- Letting off steam
- Developing co-ordination, strength, agility and stamina
- Building self-confidence, independence and self-esteem
- Engaging with others, fostering social connections and peer friendships, solving problems and increasing resilience
- Training their immune systems through exposure to bacteria, germs and microbes in the environment.
The publication also discusses the use of school grounds for learning and useful tips for helping children transition back to school.