When crisis is all around us the need for children to play can be overshadowed by other needs. The International Play Association (IPA) recognises that play is an essential part of children’s lives and is equally important during difficult periods of life.  

Children are experiencing massive changes to their worlds – missing friends, routines upset, lack of exercise and loss of access to favourite places to play – all within an atmosphere of worry and uncertainty. This is also a time when many children have more  free time with their parents and carers.

Parents and carers are trying very hard to keep their children safe, well and happy during the coronavirus pandemic. Lack of opportunities to play outdoors adds an unnecessary extra burden on children at times like this and also deprives them of a way of dealing with difficult emotions. Playing supports children to process their feelings about changes in their world.  

IPA decided to help by providing some ideas, advice and knowledge about play and share with parents and those who work with children. The IPA play in crisis: support for parents and carers resource is a set of single topic information sheets ranging from understanding the nature and importance of play through to managing specific issues such as messy and noisy play at home.

The information sheets cover why children’s play might look different at times of crisis and how that enables parents and carers to support their child’s play including ideas for play if you are not allowed outside .

The IPA play in crisis: support for parents and carers resource covers:

The importance of playing during a crisis

Supporting your child’s play during a crisis

Thinking about your child’s play

Play that involves difficult themes

Managing play at home that feels noisy or destructive

Things to play with around your home

Making the most of your time outside

Internet and screen-based play

Play when you cannot go outside

We all have a role to play in protecting and promoting children’s right to play, even in times of crisis, we hope that this resource is a valuable addition to families and helps to fulfil our mission as the International Play Association.

IPA would love to receive feedback on the resources with ideas for additions to the series.