2015 media release

On 5 August 2015 thousands of children and young people across the United Kingdom will come together at local and regional play events to celebrate Playday – the national day for play.

Now in its 28th year, Playday provides an ideal opportunity for communities to come together to celebrate, to play together and to have fun. It also provides a platform for play advocates to promote the benefits and positive impact that playing has on children’s mental and physical health, wellbeing and development.

Dr Mike Shooter, former President of the Royal College of Psychiatrists and Chair of Play Wales said:

‘Play is essential to our cognitive, emotional, social and physical development. As a doctor and psychiatrist, I have dealt at first hand with the disastrous consequences that may result from a lack of opportunity to play and adults’ inability to let it happen. Young people become fearful of the world in every way and will grow up into parents who will block their own children’s development in turn.

‘Watching TV and working the computer are important, and so is organised recreation like sport. But they are not nearly so important for development as free-for-all, rough-and-tumble play. And research is proving it. So turn everything off and get out there to celebrate Playday. And remember, while you’re having fun, that this is the very best thing you can do!’

The Playday 2015 ‘Play more…’ theme aims to:

  • Encourage children to play more at home, in the street, at school and in the community
  • Support parents to allow their children to ‘Play more…’
  • Foster communities to come together to celebrate children’s right to play.

Simply, Playday 2015 recognises that playing is the way children experience the world. Playing helps children learn about the environment and form important relationships with friends, parents and their families. Playing allows children to find out about themselves and test their capabilities. Through playing children take on physical and social challenges that build resilience and confidence.

Across Wales Playday events will be taking place, ranging from small community based play sessions through to larger play events organised in local parks and communities by Councils and voluntary organisations.

Giving his support to Playday 2015, Dr Michael McBride, Chief Medical Officer for Northern Ireland said:

‘Play is a vital component of a child’s physical and mental development. Going out for a family walk in the park, playing sports or kicking a football around, even just trying to reduce the amount of time your child spends sitting down watching TV or playing computer games will make a positive impact on their physical and mental health.’

Dr McBride continued,

‘Positive mental wellbeing helps a person to maintain good physical health, develop their potential, work productively, build strong relationships, develop a sense of self-worth, and contribute to their community. It is fundamental to our quality of life and vital that we encourage and enable play and physical activity from an early age’.

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For more information please contact Angharad Wyn Jones, Play Wales’ Communications
Officer: 029 2048 6050 / info@playwales.org.uk

Dr Mike Shooter is available as a spokesperson on 5 August 2015.

Notes to editors

The UK-wide Chief Medical Officer physical activity guidelines Start Active, Stay Active contain recommendations particularly for children under the age of five.