Playful Childhoods launches Project Play Autumn in response to a vital need for children to get playing outside and away from screens during the colder months.
Emotional and physical health are so important for a child’s happiness and development and lay the foundations for the future.
Playful Childhoods advocates all forms of play, whether it be at home, at school or in the community, and believes more can be done to provide safe, inclusive play in a positive social environment to all children at any time of year.
Mike Greenaway, Director of Play Wales and Playful Childhoods, said: “The autumn and winter months are a perfect time to get out and explore with children. There’s so much fun to be had, be it playing conkers, splashing in puddles, building a den or going on a scavenger hunt.
“We can all do more at home and in schools to encourage free, outdoor play and continually improve the minds and imaginations of the next generation.”
The project launches not long after a recent study  involving children from 56 primary schools across Wales found that 1 in 4 children are deprived of afternoon play time and are missing out on the vital physical and social benefits of play.
Recognising this importance and a need to spread awareness both to schools and the community, Playful Childhoods has launched Project Play Autumn to encourage everyone across Wales to bring back play time and get children away from screens.
Mike Greenaway continues: “This year, we conducted our own research survey which confirmed that the rise in the use of technology – amongst other things – has had a negative impact on outdoor play opportunities for children today. Parents are increasingly concerned about this. That’s why as part of Project Play Autumn, we’ll be sharing lots of tips on how to encourage play in school and for all the family.”
Ruth Cameron, a parent from Ely, said: “For my family, outdoor play is massively important, not only physically but mentally. My son does play video games, but it’s a virtual world. He loves being outside having fresh air and playing creatively, as his brain works in a completely different way. As technology is developing and we see more screens introduced into the school day, play time, PE lessons and sports days are vital for them.”
Carley Sefton, CEO of Learning through Landscapes which leads Outdoor Classroom Day in the UK and Ireland, said: “Play is essential for children’s development and wellbeing, but outdoor play brings added benefits. These include opportunities to appreciate the seasons, engage all the senses and experience awe and wonder in the natural world.
“The global Outdoor Classroom Day movement champions play because we know from our recent Muddy Hands report that children who play outdoors during the school day gain a better understanding of the environment, are happier and more likely to reach their full potential. We encourage everyone to get outdoors for Project Play.”
For more information on how you can encourage children to get outside, play and explore this autumn visit www.playfulchildhoods.wales.
 Sinead Brophy, Charlotte Todd, Emily Marchant, Michela James, Swansea University (Aug 2018)Children who have afternoon breaks are fitter but need a supportive environment, The Conversation UK <https://theconversation.com/children-who-have-afternoon-school-breaks-are-fitter-but-need-a-supportive-environment-122229>
 Play Wales: Playful Childhoods research results. The online survey was completed by 1,027 respondents from across Wales in May 2019. Answers were collected from respondents in North (23%), South East (46%), Mid (7%) and West Wales (24%). Of the respondents, the majority at 67% were parents or legal guardians.