schoolsportIntolerant attitudes and a lack of dedicated community spaces are preventing children from playing out where they live, according to the organisers of today's Playday 2013 [7 Aug].

In a survey commissioned by Play England, Play Wales, Play Scotland and PlayBoard Northern Ireland, it was found that just 23% of children play out at least seven times a week compared to over 50% of adults.

Yet 40% of children said they wanted to play out more, which suggests there are external reasons as to why the number is so much lower in children today.

Actively welcome kids playing out
The Director of Play England, Cath Prisk, said: “It’s up to all of us to turn around the creeping disappearance of children from our streets, parks and communities. We all have role – as families, neighbours, and friends. We can all do something to say we love kids playing outdoors, that we want to live in communities that actively welcome kids playing out.

"There always was and always will be some people who want to squash kid’s fun – but there are far more that really want kids back outside playing, not stuck indoors. If every councillor and MP committed to ensuring every child in their communities could play outside in their street, in playgrounds or local parks for at least an hour just five days a week, think of the difference that would make to every child’s health."

The survey particularly highlighted concerns about “traffic” and “stranger danger”, in 53% and 40% of parents respectively, were high on the list but a “intolerant attitudes and a lack of dedicated community spaces”  were also major factors.

Improve community spirit
Over a quarter of adults believe “intolerant neighbours” are an issue while a third believed letting their children play outside would “cause problems with other residents”. 

The survey also had a more positive aspect and highlighted the importance of play within the community: 40% of adults believe playing out improves community spirit and nearly half (45%) said it “helps families get to know each other”.

Marguerite Hunter Blair, CEO of Play Scotland added: "As well as a celebration of children’s right to play, Playday is a campaign that highlights the importance of play in children’s lives. We know that children across the UK would like to play outdoors more than they already do, with more opportunities for a wide range of play opportunities wanted."

An estimated 852,000 are celebrating Playday today across the UK, as well as over the rest of the summer. To find out more visit www.playday.org.uk/events.