The Importance of School Holiday PLAY

If you’re craving rest by the end of term then chances are that your child is too

Would you describe your childhood with terms such as simple, adventurous, outdoors ? Would you describe your child’s childhood with terms such as clean, indoors or structured? How times have changed! Thankfully fashion and hairstyles have changed but does it matter that play has changed so significantly?

Does play really matter?

Research is telling us a resounding YES! Play matters immensely. When children play, they are learning about their world and developing lifelong skills, including: social skills, gross and fine motor skills, creativity, resilience and decision making skills. This is what we all want for our children.

These holidays please consider simplifying the break from the structured, the should -do, and the must-do, and maximising opportunities for unstructured outdoor PLAY!

Some ideas for these holidays:

  • Grab some cardboard boxes, text a pens and a roll of packaging tape and send them outside to build a ‘cardboard city’
  • Create art with squirt bottles filled with water and washable paint, with butcher’s paper taped onto the fence
  • Grab an old pot, plant some seeds and water with a squirt bottle (paint the pot too)
  • Clean out the kitchen and donate unwanted utensils and pots to the outdoor mudpit – they don’t care what it looks like, all they want is a pile of mud
  • Book a half or full day with Jump Up Outdoors and let them experience the same simple, adventurous, outdoor play that we once experienced.

Give your children a holiday they will remember (& gives you peace of mind that you are supporting your child’s health development) with three easy steps:

  1. Encourage outdoors instead of indoors
  2. Value messy play over keeping clean
  3. Replace structure with unstructured, child led play.

Written by: Bron Lucey. Mother to 3 children who share her love of the finer things in life like mud, the outdoors and general mess. Occupational therapist in her spare time.

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