Yes Ball Games!

Watch our webinar
Home > Blog > Activism > Want to “level-up” AND improve children’s lives? Let them play out!
Alice Ferguson

Want to “level-up” AND improve children’s lives? Let them play out!

posted this in Activism, Children's play, health and wellbeing, Play Streets on 28/09/2021

Playing Out Bicycles

Two policy reports published this week both, from very different angles, highlight the urgency of restoring children’s ability to play out safely in their own neighbourhoods. With other play organisations, experts and campaigners, we urge the Government to take note and take action.

On Monday, the “No Place Left Behind” commission urged Government to take a levelling-up approach that starts with simply creating better, healthier, more child-friendly places to live, using the “tricycle test” as a measure of a good neighbourhood. This was swiftly followed by the new Children’s Commissioner’s report on her “Big Ask” survey, which found that – contrary to the screen-addicted image often portrayed – this generation of children “want to be outside, in the real world…in open spaces, and to play”.

This is no big surprise. But children’s freedom to play outside, with all its proven health and developmental benefits, has drastically reduced over the past 50 years due in large part to increased traffic on our streets and decreased tolerance of children in public space. As a result, their mental and physical health are in crisis and the pandemic has only exacerbated this “creeping lockdown” children have been subjected to. Things need to change, now more than ever, and we hope these new reports will prompt swift and serious Government action to address the very real barriers to children simply playing out where they live.

Alice Ferguson and Ingrid Skeels, Playing Out


Toby Lloyd, Chair, No Place Left Behind: The Commission into Prosperity and Community Placemaking

Dan Paskins, Save the Children UK

Dr Dan O’Hare and Dr Melernie Meheux, British Psychological Society

Anita Grant, Play England

Mike Greenaway, Play Wales

Marguerite Hunter Blair, Play Scotland

Paul Hocker, London Play

Meynell Walter, International Play Association England

Mark Hardy, Association of Play Industries

Dr Wendy Russell, University of Gloucestershire

Professor Alison Stenning, Newcastle University

Dr Sunil Bhopal, Great North Children’s Hospital

Tim Gill, author of Urban Playground

Ben Tawil and Mike Barclay, Ludicology

Dinah Bornat RIBA, ZCD Architects

Emma Bearman, Playful Anywhere

Carley Sefton, Learning through Landscapes

Jenny Wood, A Place in Childhood

Dr Helen Dodd, University of Exeter

Would you like to stay in touch with the latest Playing Out news and blog articles?

Sign up to our newsletter