Children want more space and time to play with their friends following the COVID-19 pandemic, according to a new study published in October 2022.
The study of more than 20,000 children in Wales aged 8 to 11 years old was led by population data science researchers at Swansea University in partnership with Play Wales. The findings are based on changes in responses to questions about play opportunities collected through the HAPPEN Primary School Network survey from 2016 and 2021.
The main recommendations from children as we emerge further from COVID-19 were that they would like:
- more space to play (outside homes, including gardens)
- more time with friends and protected time to play with friends in school and at home
- protected spaces to play, including investment in maintenance, upkeep, and safety – including limiting the impact of traffic
- facilitation of opportunities for children to socialise with their friends and family where possible.
These findings highlight the need to listen to and consult children to identify specific wants and needs from play.
Play Wales’ Assistant Director, Marianne Mannello said:
‘We welcome this research which gives us a valuable insight into what children value and what we need to do to help them re-engage in physical activities to help their health and wellbeing.
‘It is vital that we listen to children’s views and remove the barriers to play. This will help them support their own wellbeing, experiencing a happy and healthy childhood.’