The Playday 2008 campaign Give us a go! called for children to be allowed challenging and adventurous play opportunities and aimed to shake off the ‘cotton wool’ culture that can limit children’s play. Over 500 events took place across the UK to celebrate Playday 2008.
A comprehensive body of research was commissioned which explored the benefits and challenges of enabling children to manage their own risks whilst playing. Playday published in-depth research with children and young people. For the first time, play providers were consulted, to explore the benefits and challenges of enabling children to manage their own risks whilst playing. A literature review collating published research relating to the theme is also available, and national opinion polls of both children and adults conducted by ICM.
The opinion poll findings showed that children were facing serious restrictions to their opportunities for adventurous play. Half of children (51%) aged 7-12 years reported they are not allowed to climb a tree without adult supervision and half (49%) also report that they have been stopped from climbing trees because it was considered to be too dangerous.
The research also found a change in the places where children and young people experienced adventurous and challenging play. As children, 70% of adults enjoyed most of their adventures in natural outdoor environments. This compared with only 29% of children in 2008, due a dramatic decline in spaces and the freedom for children to roam. Children’s experiences of adventure were confined to designated areas such as playgrounds (56%), their homes (48%) or theme parks (44%).