After what seems like an interminable period of lockdown, things in the UK are beginning to return to normal. Schools and workplaces are reopening, and things are gradually starting to happen again.
While children are back at school, they are also still being kept in control groups. Unavoidably, it’s likely that children’s activity levels have slumped during the long lockdown. Break times are a great opportunity for increasing levels of physical activity, and for finally having some fun, while maintaining social distancing.
Since normal social interaction has been interrupted, a neutral outdoor space where kids can be themselves becomes more and more crucial – no one likes being kept away from their friends. Outdoor space, so long as it is properly cleaned, can be the perfect arena for getting back to normal. Children can relax and play in an environment that you know is taken care of, and has much less risk attached.
As has been well established, outdoor play has enormous benefits, both for children’s heath and for their cognitive development. It can encourage risk-taking and cooperation, as well as providing exercise and fresh air. With the various lockdowns keeping everyone cooped up, children are likely to be desperate to get back outside and see their friends. Time to burn off some of that pent-up energy! The physical benefits of active play are well recorded, but the mental health benefits should not be overlooked either.
Both outdoor and indoor competitions have returned, meaning that organised sport can take place again, both as a leisure activity and in a more organised way. Government guidance on this is fairly comprehensive, and covers all aspects of safety and organisation, as well as risk management. Team sports are back, and can be played and enjoyed as they were before.
There are many reasons to be hopeful about the changes ahead. Careful reopening and vaccination programmes make going back to normal a realistic possibility. Obviously safety is paramount, and careful risk-assessment and cleaning can help everyone stay safe and stay on track. Each playground will be different and will require different measures to be taken, but ultimately it should be possible for all children to play safely, regardless of equipment or setup. Outdoor space, sunshine and fresh air have almost never been such valuable commodities, and they remain free to everybody.
Playdale offer ways to keep your playgrounds clean and safe, from hand sanitising stations to the PlaySafe anti-viral coating service. These methods should help to minimise risks, and give you peace of mind when allowing children back onto your playgrounds and outdoor spaces While an element of social distancing will still be necessary for now, this will help keep minds at ease.
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