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Play enlivens life

Video transcript

[Dr Wendy Russell speaking]

My name is Wendy Russell. I'm senior lecturer in play and playwork at the University of Gloucestershire in the UK. 

What we do in our lives is we constantly seek out moments where life is better. We want to feel better, and that's what play is both for children and for adults.

Children will play, whenever the conditions are right, children will play. So maybe what adults need to do is think about what those conditions are. That might be having some stuff at home it might also be taking them out to places. But it might also be getting in touch with other parents and putting children with children so that they could play.

Children shouldn't just have to play in playgrounds. Often the way that adults design places are quite playful, low walls want to be walked on, cracks on pavements need to be avoided. You know they're games that children will sort out themselves as long as they can be there, and be there without being harassed by traffic, or other adults.

So in Wales in the UK the government has introduced a place sufficiency duty which places a statutory duty on local authorities to assess and secure sufficient play opportunities for their children. What that means is it recognizes everybody across the whole authority has some responsibility there, not just the people that talk about play. So that's planners, transport, parks and recreation, open spaces, education, social services - all those departments have to come together and work cross-departmentally to assess and secure sufficient play opportunities. 

So play enlivens life. It's the pleasure that play brings thats not an indulgence, that's really important. It's the basis of mental and physical health.

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