Children’s opportunities to play and socialise outside have been greatly affected by the coronavirus pandemic, especially during lockdown. We wanted to hear from children directly to know how they are feeling about playing during this time of uncertainty. 

When the first lockdown started in March 2020, Sumaya, aged 10 from Cardiff, was happy because there was no school! Here’s what Sumaya had to say about her play experiences: 

‘So, I asked my mum if we could have fun, like going to soft play, ice skating or playing in the park but she said lockdown means we can’t go out at all unless it’s very important! Then I said can we just go back to school then? And she said no!

My mum said we could go for walks, but I kept seeing policemen and I was scared they would say go home so I didn’t like leaving the house.

One of the nicest things during lockdown was playing on Roblox, which is a game you can play online. I normally played for a bit after school but suddenly I saw nearly my whole class on there! So, we made a group and played together every day. I asked my mum if I could speak to some friends on the phone. So, we would speak to each other as we played and that got so noisy that my mum would end up taking the phone away!

My mum made sure that I had time to play in the garden, I have a trampoline and sometimes I would call my upstairs friends down to play with me, but they weren’t allowed because of the virus. The virus kept ruining our fun! I had no one to play with so I started practising skipping and I got really good at it and my mum taught me games she used to play when she was a child, like kerbs. 

Kerbs is normally played on a street and you throw a ball on the opposite kerb, but we played in my garden and we used the step into the house as the kerb. So, if the ball bounced off the kerb, I got ten points and if I missed, I lost a turn to my mum. If I manged to catch the ball at the same time, I got an extra five points. It’s a bit tricky to aim right but once you get the hang of it, it’s a lot of fun!’

Sumaya’s story reminds us how important playing is to children well-being and happiness. As we continue work our way through the pandemic and restrictions, children still need and want to play. 

As parents we want to continue to support our children during this challenging time. To help parents make sure children have plenty of time, space and freedom to play, we have a range of practical resources to support playing in and around the home.