Why play?

All children love to play. But play is more than just a bit of fun or a way to let off steam. Play is vital to children’s physical health and mental wellbeing. Through play children learn about the world around them, and develop the physical and social skills that they need for life. Unstructured play, where children can freely choose to follow their own interests and ideas, is particularly important for children’s development.

Children drawing chalk people along the road during a Play Street session in Hackney

By Gabrielle De Pauw

Street play

Playing outside near to home gives children the chance to experience free, unstructured play and to develop friendships with other local children across different age groups.

It enables children to play energetically and, crucially, they are not dependent on adults to take them anywhere. There are many other good reasons for playing out but recent research shows only  21% of children get to play near home regularly.

Find out more about our Street Play project, which we are delivering working in partnership with Playing Out, a not-for-profit information and advice resource for street play.