The importance of play spaces in residential areas and communities
With the start of the second national lockdown, one of the small mercies we are able to take from lockdown 2.0 is the fact that play areas are allowed to remain open. Without the ability to access playgrounds near their homes, millions of children would lose the ability to interact in an outdoor setting.
Whilst people are still not allowed to mix with other households in the situation, this outlet could be a lifeline to many children, as outdoor play has a positive impact on children’s mental health, physical health and development.
Benefits of play spaces in residential areas:
- Play promotes positive mental and physical health
- Being active helps prevent obesity
- Green and interactive spaces allow children to grow their creativity and imaginations
‘The less children play outdoors, the less they learn to cope with the risks and challenges they will go on to face as adults… Nothing can replace what children gain from the freedom and independence of thought they have when trying new things out in the open. A potential impact is that children who don’t take risks become adults who don’t take risks. In the current global economy this, too, is a price we cannot afford to pay.’ Child psychologist Professor Tanya Byron has noted.
What is important to remember is that these children are the next generation of employees, so we need to keep their minds active, bodies healthy and their appreciation of public open spaces high.
API Chair Mark Hardy says, ‘Without access to public playgrounds during lockdown, millions of children would effectively be placed under house arrest, particularly those from the 1 in 8 UK households with no outdoor space. The effects of this on their mental and physical health would be devastating, exacerbating an already alarming picture of childhood obesity, growing mental health problems and record levels of sleep disorders. Public playgrounds are powerful tools in helping to alleviate the effects of lockdown. We are glad that, given the evidence, common sense has won through as we enter this next set of restrictions.’
The National Trust has conducted a lot of research in the past to outline a clear need to tackle the rise of ‘Nature Deficit Disorder’ which highlights the need for easily accessible interactive and green spaces for children.
The survey they carried out showed that 84% of parents believe that playing outdoors makes their children more imaginative and creative, while 96% felt it was important for children to have a connection with nature.
We are relying on this generation to drive biodiversity and sustainability for our future, so we need them to be outdoors and create a connection with nature. Playgrounds that combine biodiversity and the right play equipment to interact with nature are the perfect way to achieve this.
If you would like to discuss how to incorporate an outdoor play area in your development please contact the Housebuilder Play specialists: firstname.lastname@example.org