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Nov. 2, 2022

New post-covid study at Swansea reveals children want more space and time to play

Swansea UniversityChildren would like more space and time to play with their friends in school and at home, according to a new study led by Population Data Science researchers at Swansea University. 

The study explored 20,000 children's opinions to play pre- and post-Covid school closures. The research included primary school children aged eight to 11 in Wales who had participated in the HAPPEN Primary School Network survey between 2016 and 2021. The survey captures a range of information about children's health and wellbeing, including open-ended questions about what could make them happier.

Five themes were identified based on children's responses. These include having space to play, recommendations on play, having permission to play, their feelings on health and wellbeing and play, and having time to play.

The main recommendation from children as we emerge further from Covid-19 is that they would like more space to play (outside homes, including gardens), more time with friends and protected time to play with friends in school and at home. This study highlights key recommendations to promote, protect and facilitate play for children. Children themselves suggest these recommendations:

  • Protect spaces to play, including investment in maintenance, upkeep, and safety. Ensure spaces are designed for pedestrians and not heavy traffic flow; and,
  • Facilitate opportunities for children to socialise with their friends and family where possible.

The findings have just been published in the International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health and they highlight the need to listen to and consult children to identify specific wants and needs from play.

However, while pandemic research has highlighted decreases in activity in children, there is also evidence to suggest that the pandemic may have been a good opportunity for children to play and be active.

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Content added on 2nd November 2022. 

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