2006 Play naturally

Play Naturally brought communities together at hundreds of Playday events around the country.

Lots of fun was had celebrating children’s natural playfulness and acknowledging the variety and stimulation which natural spaces and elements offer for play. The theme also highlighted that opportunities for children to play in natural spaces are in serious decline.

Loss of natural play space
The campaign highlighted the issue that children’s access to natural play spaces is seriously compromised, with a negative effect on their physical, mental and emotional health.

To compensate for the loss of natural play space, local authorities need to find ways of protecting and developing open and green space to allow children more everyday contact with nature.

This can be achieved through a range of options including designated nature sites, public green spaces, ‘waste ground’, school grounds and naturalistic playgrounds, as well as raising the profile of playwork in natural settings.

Play England published Play, Naturally: A review of children’s natural play. The report, by Stuart Lester and Martin Maudsley of Playwork Partnerships, looked at the benefits of play on children’s health and well-being, and outlined what we should be doing to compensate for the loss of natural play space in recent years.

Download the report here.


Children prefer natural play
Our Playday 2006 survey indicated that children want to play out more, and would rather play outside in natural environments than inside with computer games.

Eighty percent of children in the UK prefered playing outside to playing indoors – but not all of them got the chance. Nearly three in four children (72%) wanted to play out more often.

The survey also found that 86% of children preferred outdoor activities, including playing out with their friends, building dens and getting muddy, to playing computer games.

BBC Newsround conducted an on-line poll, asking whether there were enough places to play – almost three-quarters of voters said there weren’t.