Politicians urged Put Play on Your Agenda

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Politicians urged ‘Put Play on Your Agenda!’

Play is vitally important for the healthy development of all children and young people. Play is seriously on a child’s agenda and that of their parents. Play Alliance believes play needs to be on our current and prospective politicians’ agenda also.

Children’s opportunities for free play have become restricted in recent years by various factors including planning, traffic, parental safety concerns and the level of structured activities.

In the run up to the forthcoming general election Play Alliance encourages voters to support this cause by encouraging their local politician to make quality play provision an important part of their campaign.

A new National Play Policy to focus attention and resources on providing better play opportunities is of vital importance, and the establishment of an information centre to assist play providers in local authorities is badly needed.


“There are over 800,000 children in Ireland. One in four of these children are either overweight or obese. It is crucial that in all places where children gather we provide opportunities for a wide range of play activities, to ensure their well-being. By far the most serious constraint to children’s free-play globally, is the lack of appreciation of its value by many adults”

, said Anne O’Brien, Play Development Officer in Dublin City Council.


Play Alliance urges all current and prospective politicians to support the development, maintenance and protection of play environments and the creation of imaginative new initiatives. Let our children learn about the world, how its works, and their place in it, through play.


Notes to the Editor


What is Play?

 Play is what children and young people do when they themselves decide what to do, when to do it and how to do it.

“Play is freely chosen, personally directed, intrinsically motivated behaviour that actively engages the child.” Ready Steady Play! A National Play Policy (NCO 2004)

One in four children in Ireland are either overweight or obese, which may lead to health problems in later life. The Department of Health & Children and the Irish Heart Foundation recommend that: “Children should engage in an activity of moderate intensity for at least an hour every day.” Studies have highlighted the importance of active play in contributing to children’s activity levels.

Therefore, to ensure children’s well being it is crucial that in all places where children go we provide opportunities for a wide range of play activities.

What is a quality play environment?

  • Any place that children enjoy playing in and want to return to time and time again
  • Ideally it’s a place that has elements that can change or be transformed physically or by the child’s imagination
  • It’s a place where children can be with their friends and interact with other children
  • A place that will stimulate the senses with colour, music, texture, smells of various leaves or plants
  • A place that offers challenging activities like rough and tumble, running, climbing, and lots of physical activity
  • It could be a place that offers quieter more reflective activities like making things, imaginary play etc
  • A place where children feel safe and comfortable

Play Alliance believes in and works for ‘children’s right to play’ as quoted in the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child. Members include Sugradh, IPPA, various local authorities, Children in Hospital Ireland and individuals who support the children’s right to play.

For more information

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