The Sheffield Green Spaces Forum

Children Just Love to Play, Especially on Our National Playday!

By P Meleady

Playday is the national day for play, traditionally celebrated on the first Wednesday in August. On Playday thousands of children and their families get out to play at hundreds of community events across Sheffield and other parts of the UK.

As well as a celebration of children’s right to play, Playday is a campaign that highlights the importance of play in children’s lives, because play is such an important part of any child’s rights, inclusion and development and so our now very successful Playday events in both Pitsmoor and Highfields Adventure Playgrounds and across the City provides a fantastic opportunity to celebrate it and promote its many benefits.

We are very conscious of the importance of open access play for children. Not only are there significant health benefits from being facilitated to play and to be out in the open air, but also exposure to a range of stimulus, and risks can help aid child development. As the national Playday organisers highlight play builds friendships, as playing allows children to interact with others, develop relationships, deal with conflict, and learn respect and tolerance, it also builds resilience , as playing boosts children’s confidence, creativity, problem-solving skills and perseverance, enabling them to cope with stress and challenges throughout life. Play also builds health because being active through play helps children physically and emotionally, contributing to their health and happiness and importantly it also builds communities because playing allows children to learn about the world around them, make connections, and develop a sense of identity and belonging.

Play is the universal language of childhood. It is ‘’ a process that is freely chosen, personally directed and intrinsically motiviated …..(Playwork Scrutiny Group, Cardiff 2005) It is through play that children understand each other and make sense of the world around them.

Children attending Adventure Playgrounds, in their play might make a cardboard city, or decide to engage in structure and den building, dressing up, arts and crafts, dance and drama, cooking on a campfire, bunting making, gloop kitchen, volleyball, messy play and lots more.

From small-scale community events to thousands of children taking part in events organised in parks and open spaces Playday is celebrated by each community in a way that suits them, so join in. 

Here in Sheffield we’re very lucky to have some fantastic play and outdoor spaces and I would encourage all children to play especially during these summer months.

Children Playing at Pitsmoor Adventure