get children outdoors again Free, unsupervised play, where children develop their own games and rules, helps them to develop their creativity, imagination and problem-solving skills. Play also improves a child’s ability to focus and concentrate as well as to learn vital social skills. The calculated risks that children naturally take in free play enables them to develop resilience and builds confidence in their own judgement and abilities. The changes needed to avert a crisis for an

each one. The evidence presented in A Movement for Movement points to an urgent need to reconceptualise these behaviours not as separate components but as inextricably linked, joint 24-hour movement behaviours. Parents, teachers and local and national

policy-makers must now work in tandem to ensure that all of the elements of children’s movement behaviours are considered together, rather than being seen as the responsibility of separate government departments and initiatives. This requires a far more muscular and visible public health approach, with joined-up thinking from national and local government.

entire generation and the ones to follow are varied, addressing families, schools, and local and national policy-makers. Reducing children’s recreational screen time and increasing the provision and use of accessible playgrounds and play areas must occur in a wider context of public health education: an understanding of how and why these screen time and physical activity behaviours should be integrated into children’s lives from an early age and on a regular basis. The consequences, if we fail to make these

changes, will be nothing short of disastrous: this is one of the biggest issues of our time. We have a moral obligation to ensure that this becomes a public health issue; we don’t allow

our young children to drink alcohol or take drugs, we insist they wear seatbelts, cycle helmets and suncream. And yet, we are allowing the silent killer of excessive recreational screen and inactivity to go unchecked.

why playgrounds matter The vast majority of families and children live in urban areas where playgrounds are their only opportunity for free play and movement. Playgrounds are a central part of the community, uniting not only children but parents and carers too. Without access to attractive and free playgrounds which, crucially, are safe, local and accessible, communities suffer and children quite simply have nowhere to play.

The Association of Play Industries (API) is the lead trade body in the play sector. It represents the interests of manufacturers, installers, designers and distributors of both outdoor and indoor play equipment and safer surfacing. The API promotes best practice and high-quality play provision within the play industry. 35

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