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4CF012 Role Of Play In Childhood

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4CF012 Role Of Play In Childhood

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4CF012 Role Of Play In Childhood

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Course Code: 4CF012
University: University Of Wolverhampton is not sponsored or endorsed by this college or university

Country: United Kingdom

Session objectives

?To consider the effect of the environment on children’s play.
?To examine the effect of the indoor environment
?To examine the effect of the outdoor environment
Outdoor Play

?From your experience, discuss the following:
?Is it important for children to play outdoors?
?In nurseries and schools, how is the outdoors used for play and learning?
?Outside of nurseries and schools, in your local community how much do children play outdoors?
What is outdoor play?

?Outdoor play and learning is used here as an ‘umbrella’ term to cover a range of children’s experiences in different outdoor locations (Waller, 2007)
Outdoor learning is not a single entity but comprises many different sorts of activity with distinct purposes
Benefits of outdoor play

?There is a growing body of research that shows that young children’s access to nature and outdoor play is positively associated with improved self-esteem, physical health, development of language skills and disposition to learning.”
Concerns regarding outdoor play

?Research by Learning through Landscapes (LTL) and the national Early Childhood Forum (ECF):
A long tradition in nursery education in the UK, backed up by a wealth of contemporary research, shows that getting outdoors is important for the healthy development, wellbeing and early learning of all children. But ECF and LTL together with Early Education and other partners shared a concern that the ‘daily outdoor experiences’ enshrined in the Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS) may no longer be seen as a priority by early years settings, schools, or indeed by policy makers and politicians.” (Davy, 2016, p5)
Reduction in outdoor play?

?What do you think are the reasons for the lack of outdoor play today?
?What do you think are the consequences for children if they lack adequate outdoor play?
Consequences of the lack of outdoor play?

?Could the following be linked to a lack of outdoor play?
?In 2015/16, over 1 in 5 children in Reception, and over 1 in 3 children in Year 6 were measured as obese or overweight. (NHS, 2017)
?10% of children and young people (aged 5-16 years) have a clinically diagnosable mental health problem.  (Children’s Society, 2008, in Mental Health Foundation 2017)

The Importance of  indoor and/or outdoor environment in children’s play.

Play is an integral part of childhood development. However, in order to understand the significance of play, it is necessary to embrace factors that influence play. These are:
Importance of play
Type of play
Consequences of play deprivation
Play area
Creating a play environment ( Indoor environment)
Creating a play environment ( outdoor environment)
What is Play?

Psychologists consider play as more than just an a simple activity (Cole-Hamilton and Gleave, 2012). Because it is an emotional engagement in a game with an objective.
Children like to play in order to have fun or accomplishing a goal. Play is involuntary and recreational in nature.
Play is important for children because it supports physical development integration and social skills. Play may involve a game with rules and it may also feature an interactive
Importance of play

Brock et al ( 2009) study behavior traits depicted by children when they are denied play time to point out the connection between depression and play deprivation.
Play concepts revolve around the psychological and social benefits. Play supports learning and childhood development because children learn adaptation and gain mental  health.
This determines the play pattern which involves:
Body movement
Social engagement
Creative imagination
Types of Play

There are indoor and outdoor types of games. Forms of play vary depending on the nature adopted. In the modern age, digital games such as computer games also count. Play categories feature:
Interactive activities ( e. g group games )
Pretense ( e.g. role plays )
Games ( e.g. sports)
Performances ( e.g. acting)
Toy games etc.
Play as a commercial activity continues to gain popularity because of the benefits  it offers.

Consequences of Play deprivation

The BBC  ( 2009) reports that the current generation has a problem with play deprivation indicating the importance of play and its psychosocial benefits.
Factors limiting child’s play today include:
Lack of parental involvement in their children
Lack of playgrounds
Increased use of technology games
Reduced quality of indoor and outdoor activities
Overconcentration on academic performance at the expense of play time
Government statistics indicate an increase in playground investment, especially the Home Learning Environment ( Welcomme et al, 2008: UK Department of Education, 2014)

Play Area

Evidence of psychological trauma during play deprivation is visible  when children lack a playground, and when infants lack the attention of their parents.
Research supports the experiential effect of a play ground because spaces are significant in influencing children’s activities (Cole-Hamilton & Gleave, 2012, p, 4).

Criticism of theory, that school systems are keen on academic performance as critical in cognitive and social development ( Welcomme et al, 2008).
However, research also discourages over reliance of play in one area against another pointing out that it encourages play bias. This calls for an integrated approach that gives children an all round play experience( Cole-Hamilton, & Gleave, 2012, p, 14)
On then other hand finding a single game that accommodates for psychological, social and educational benefits is a challenge
Play Awakens the senses

Play is an integral part of childhood growth and development because it awakens the senses. As children play, they get in touch with the world  by:
Developing the play area adds value to the play experience because children interact with their senses while playing
Play is important for learning

Educational psychologists support the use of play in learning activities because play:
Is essential in the development of social and cognitive skills
Enhances emotional growth
Supports self confidence
Provides new experiences
Engages the environment
Play based learning is a strategy used in preschool for effective teaching, learning and interaction ( Rous Morrisey, and Robertson, 2018)
Guided and Spontaneous play

Play is often spontaneous and an unborn child starts to play by kicking and moving in the mother’s womb. This kind of play has no structure and supports individuals creativity.
Child directed play targets different abilities in a child and is essential for optimization of children’s abilities.
Play provides opportunities for both kinds of play and supports problem solving skills and personal development. During play, children gain knowledge and become creative.
Most children discover their hobbies and talents during play. examples include sports talent, acting and music
Creating a play environment ( indoors)

Parents can support the development of their children by allocating time for play. This is critical in social, physical and emotional development. This could be through:
Organized indoor spaces
Family group rooms with children activities
Creative outdoor activities that stimulate creativity
Being involved in community, and school activities that encourage play
Major et al (2014) suggests the use of a creative environment that enhances children’s growth and development. Parents can learn from these techniques when developing play activities for the home environment.
Creating  a play environment ( Outdoors)


Play is important for children and lack of play has emotional and social consequences. Research provides concrete information on how parents and teachers can improve the play environment. However, different types of games offer varied benefits.
This assessment highlights the importance of the play environment and the use of family time for effective play. This allows children to enjoy play despite modern day limitations of the playground.
From different research explanations, it is evident that play is an integral part of human development. However there are effective techniques that support a wholesome approach to play.
This means play is important for the school and home environment. A concerted effort towards reinventing play grounds is necessary

Brock , A; Dodds, S; Jarvis, P; Olusoga, Y; ( 2009). Perspectives on play: learning for life. UK, Pearson
Malaguzzzi, L; (2012). Activity Areas. Community Product UK Available at: file:///C:/Users/BAT/Downloads/2164190_839274542_41798202696spacesdocument.pdf
Coughan, S; (2007); Generation of ‘play deprivation. BBC News. Available at:
Cole-Hamiltoon, I; Gleave, J; ( 2012). A world without play-A literature review on the effects of a lack of play in children’s lives, Available arfile:///C:/Users/BAT/Downloads/2164186_198193305_41798202630a-world-without-pla.pdf>
Major, L, E; Higgis, S; Aloisi, C; Coe, R; (2014) What makes great teaching? Review of the underpinning research. Available atfile:///C:/Users/BAT/Downloads/2164181_1309318172_41798202601suttontrustfullrepo.pdf
Rouse, E; Morrissey, A; Robertson, M; ( 2018). Play-based learning can set your child up for success at school and beyond. The Conversation. Available at
UK Department of Education. The national curriculum of education. In England: Key stages 3 and 4 framework document, Available at
Welcomme, et al; ( 2008). Final report from the primary phase: Pre-school, school and family influences on children’s development during key stage 2 ( Age 7-11), Leading Education and Social

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