04 August 2021
The BPS is delighted to support the #SummerOfPlay campaign which aims to give children the space, time, and freedom to play this summer.
The campaign was developed in response to growing concerns that children’s needs were not being adequately considered within the pandemic response. Child psychologists and BPS members Professor Helen Dodd, Dr Rachel Nesbit and Dr Lily Fitzgibbon worked closely with Play England, the Children’s Play Policy Forum and Save the Children to make the campaign a reality.
The campaign calls for play to be central to children’s recovery from the Covid-19 pandemic, with everyone urged to create spaces for children to play this summer. It has gathered support from a number of high-profile organisations including NSPCC, the LEGO Foundation and Home Start.
The BPS has long championed the importance of play for children along with its division of educational and child psychology. In 2020 we launched two films to highlight how play can be used to regulate children’s emotions and support psychological wellbeing, and joined forces with the poet Michael Rosen to fight the erosion of school playtime.
Helen Dodd, Professor of Child Psychology at the University of Exeter said:
“Play with friends is a central part of childhood, it is intrinsically valuable, bringing fun and joy to children’s lives. It also offers opportunities for learning about negotiation, social skills, emotions and relationships. Over the past year children’s play with their friends has been restricted and there is evidence that their mental health has deteriorated.
“Among all the talk of educational catch-up it is vital that we don’t forget that children have also missed out on play with their friends, physical activity and fun. In February, PlayFirstUK wrote to government urging them to ensure children get time to play this summer. This campaign builds on that and is about community action; coming together with a wide range of diverse organisations to give children the summer of play they deserve, to help them catch up on so much of what they have missed this past year.”
Rachel Nesbit, Postdoctoral Research Fellow at the University of Exeter, added:
“We all have a role to play in enabling children to have the time and space to reconnect with friends this summer. We have seen an incredible response to the campaign to date, with 380 organisations pledging their support.”