Play Day Hooray! Activities across Scotland mark national celebration

Published on Wednesday, 07 August 2013 12:10
Written by Vicki Mitchem

Children's Minister Aileen Campbell and sports ambassador Judy Murray today joined young people to celebrate National Play Day.

Events are taking place across the country to encourage parents and children to join in den building, sports and conquering obstacle courses as underused land is transformed into playgrounds of all shapes and sizes.

The Minister visited charities supported by the £1.9 million Go2Play Fund, delivered by Inspiring Scotland in partnership with the Scottish Government.

Ms Campbell said:

"Wonderful play experiences stay with you and can change lives by instilling a love of activity, good use of the imagination, building confidence and teaching problem solving.

"Around the country there are people giving their time to create safe and fun places and activities for families We have a national strategy that cements the importance of play in helping a child develop. The Go2Play Fund, delivered with Inspiring Scotland, has supported 8,250 hours of play activities benefiting over 10,000 children since its launch last year. It has helped turn unused and unloved land into a community asset that families can rely on to support play.

"Visiting groups like Possibilities East End Kids in Glasgow and The Yard in Edinburgh shows the variety of events on offer for Play Day and I'm delighted that Set4Sport and Judy Murray have supported PEEK's Play Day celebrations in Glasgow helping children to learn basic skills they need to go on to be healthy and active in later life."

Judy Murray said: "I'mwholly supportive of the Government's initiative to develop opportunities for children to play actively, it's crucial that exercising becomes a way of life in the early years because that can help to make us a fitter, healthier nation in the long term.

"Providing kids and parents with play spaces such as the PEEK offers here is incredibly important and our Set4Sport programme shows parents how they can play an active role in their kids physical development by playing lots of simple, fun games at home using everyday household objects."

Andrew Muirhead, Chief Executive of Inspiring Scotland, said: "It is right that play is celebrated not just today but every day and it is part of every child's life. At Inspiring Scotland we recognise the huge value and importance of play and that is why we're committed to support a portfolio of charities through our Go2Play Fund which helps to ensure more children, families and communities across Scotland benefit from the real and lasting impact of play."

The Minister visited Croftcroighn Park in Ruchazie, Glasgow this morning to meet youngsters taking part in activities organised by PEEK and Set4Sport using play to improve agility, balance and coordination.

Melodie Crumlin, PEEK Project Development Manager, said: "We are excited to be encouraging hundreds of children and their families get out playing on National Play day.

"This year's theme is Playful spaces so we are aiming to celebrate the importance of making sure that the places where children live and hang out are great spaces to play.

"Play is an essential part of a child's life in order for them to grow and develop into positive active citizens. At PEEK we continue our commitment to supporting children in Glasgow benefiting from free play all year round through our week to week street play service across 12 communities engaging with over 450 children."

In Edinburgh staff from The Yard, with support from the City of Edinburgh Council have converted part of Leith Links into an exciting playground to demonstrate that Play can happen in any space.

Celine Sinclair, Chief Executive of The Yard said: "We are delighted to be working with Inspiring Scotland to deliver two weeks of play sessions on Leith Links. The work we do as an organisation is centred around free play and therefore each activity is child-led and aims to encourage them to be creative, open-minded and inclusive.

"Play is a huge part of health and wellbeing and growing up and it is important for building relationships and making friends. Our, water slide, musical instrument making, obstacle courses and other activities are proving to be really popular with children and families in the community and demonstrate a play model which could be replicable in other parts of the City. We hope that families continue to enjoy our sessions and most importantly have fun."

Recognising the positive impact of play on emotional, physical and brain development in children and young people, the Scottish Government recently published the first national Play Strategy and will follow this with an Action Plan later this year.

Source: Scottish Government

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