August - Month of Play
Month of Play
With the summer holidays in full swing, we introduce you to the Month of Play!
Children have the right to play, and this is even recognised in the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child. Article 31 states that:
"Parties recognise the right of the child to rest and leisure, to engage in play and recreational activities appropriate to the age of the child and to participate freely in cultural life and the arts."
Play is vital, especially for children, as it:
Play England has dedicated the first Wednesday in August every year as National Playday. This year, the council are supporting Play England in their theme #SummerOfPlay by providing a jam-packed programme of activities that families across our borough can enjoy.
From canoeing to tennis, to petanque, to boxing, to dancing, there really is something for everyone - and, best of all, it’s all completely free.
Playday on a shoestring
It’s easy to celebrate Playday.
It doesn’t matter whether your plans are big or small - what’s most important is that children and young people get the opportunity to get out to play for the day, and that collectively we highlight the importance of play in children’s lives.
Playday events can be all shapes and sizes. Celebrations range from jubilee-style street parties, festivals in parks or village greens, mass adventures in woodlands and parklands, to public events at community venues and back-garden play dates.
If you can’t manage to hold a community-wide event, don’t worry. The great thing about play is that it’s free! Whether you’re a play setting, community group, childminder, family, or group of friends, here are some simple ideas to help you celebrate Playday on a shoestring:
- Blankets + chairs = great for making tents and dens
- Water + washing-up liquid + tarpaulin = homemade water slide madness!
- Water balloons + super soaker water guns = the great neighbourhood water fight!
- Large piece of rope = a tug-of-war challenge
- Bags of sand + buckets = who says the beach can’t come to you?
- Hula hoops + skipping ropes + balls = always a child pleaser
- Picnic treats = food to fuel creative energy
And don’t forget the kids!
If you have any tips or ideas to create a Playday celebration on a shoestring, why not post them on Playday’s Facebook page?
Not just for children...
In the words of George Bernard Shaw: “We don’t stop playing because we grow old; we grow old because we stop playing.”
Play is not just for kids - it can help keep you feeling young and energetic.
Adults can benefit from finding relaxation and entertainment away from our screens, phones and televisions. It’s just as important for us to make time for leisure activities that help us step away from our daily cares, worries and commitments - and relax and have fun. Whether that’s through sports, games or just trying something new, play can improve our physical and mental wellbeing and help us cope with the stresses and strains of modern life.
Active play can help our:
- motor skills
- energy levels
- heart and lung function.
Play can help build our self-confidence, focus and concentration and can help us manage our emotions - especially if we work together to achieve a team goal. Teamwork and co-operating with others help our communication and social skills, build trust and empathy, and give us a chance for interaction with friends, family, neighbours or even strangers who may well become our friends.
Problem-solving through play can help develop our creativity and productivity (many well-known companies encourage their employees to make time for play) and can improve our brain function and memory.
Play is fun! Fun and laughter can trigger the release of endorphins, the body’s natural feel-good chemicals.
So turn off your phone, TV or computer and give yourself permission to be a child again! Why not throw a frisbee, have a games day in the park with families or friends or try something you haven’t done since you were at school. Play with your children or grandchildren, or even your pet. Go for a stroll or a bike ride with no purpose except to enjoy it. Try the new Tag Tap app and see where it leads you.
Or have a go at one of the many activities we’ve lined up for our Month of Play - petanque, pickleball, tennis, garland dancing… the choice of fun is yours!
See below a wide range of activities you can do with friends and family, as well as regular sessions taking place in Chesterfield throughout this month and beyond.
For more events and activities, head to our Year of Outdoors events page and our Activities in Parks page!
Street Dance - with Britain's Got Talent's Jack Bruce
Join the former BGT contestant for these fun hour-long street dance classes, held in two of our parks:
- Monkey Park - Mondays 2.00pm - 3.00pm - last session 23 August
- Loundsley Green Park - Tuesdays 2.00pm - 3.00pm - last session 24 August
To book, contact Wendy Blunt by calling 01246 959657 or by emailing email@example.com.
A fun boxing-based fitness programme, this activity is for children aged 11 and above - and adults are welcome too!
The sessions take place every Monday, Tuesday and Thursday throughout the summer holidays, at:
- Poolsbrook Social Welfare Centre - Mondays 6.00pm - 7.30pm - last session 23 August
- Speedwell Rooms, Staveley - Tuesdays and Thursdays 6.00pm - 7.30pm - last session 2 September
There's no need to book or bring equipment - just turn up! For more information, contact Wendy Blunt by calling 01246 959657 or by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
Pickleball is a paddleball sport (similar to a racket sport) that combines elements of badminton, table tennis and tennis.
Come and have a go in our free sessions in Eastwood Park! They take place every Monday and Thursday throughout the summer holidays, each session starting at 2.30pm and lasting roughly an hour-and-a-half.
Children and adults are both welcome to join in! To book, contact Wendy Blunt by calling 01246 959657 or by emailing email@example.com.
Places are taken on a first come, first served basis and sessions are subject to weather conditions.
Activities to do at home - or out and about!
Outdoor noughts and crosses
Try this simple game whilst you are out and about in our parks.
Gather your materials from the natural things around you to make the grid and playing pieces!
Set up a butterfly feeding station
If you want to encourage butterflies into your garden or you already have lots there, why not set up a butterfly feeding station for them? All you need is a shallow dish, some sugar water and a few slices of fruit. You will need to change it every few days due to ants – but your butterflies will be grateful you’ve thought of them!
The Wildlife Trusts have a whole range of activity ideas on their website - including how to build a bug hotel or bird feeder, or make your own binoculars!
Make a fairy house
Create magical tiny homes for the fairies in your garden! Gather stones, sticks and other recycled materials.
Pack a picnic!
Pack up a picnic and eat it in a different location. Sometimes even the smallest things like a change of scenery can make all the difference.
We have so many lovely locations in Chesterfield – so many parks and play areas. Why not pick a new location from our parks webpage?
Tips for enhancing play
Children need to have adventures outdoors, even if it means a few scrapes and grazes. Let your children enjoy physical challenges such as climbing trees. Children learn through taking risks, so don’t be overly protective if the worst that can happen is a bump or a scrape.
Make getting places fun
If you’re heading out locally, ditch the car and take a playful journey on foot. Take roller skates, scooters or skateboards, and think of games you can play on the way. Don’t forget that children are more likely to play if they are with friends, so, whatever you’re doing, why not invite friends along too.
Get outside in rain or shine
Kids will want to play whatever the weather, so don’t be put off going outside if it’s raining. Be prepared with wellies, umbrellas and raincoats and get ready for some puddle-jumping!
Invest in ‘active’ toys
Classic toys like hula hoops, pogo sticks, skipping ropes and space hoppers are still a favourite with the kids. They’re ideal for playing in the garden, or outside on the street where you live.
Share your play memories
Whether it was a game of tag, rounders or piggy in the middle, think about how you used to play actively when you were a child. Share and recreate your play memories with your children – why not get grandparents involved too!
Lead by example
Don’t be afraid to get stuck in and play outdoors with your kids. You’re never too old to play, and being active through play, rather than sitting in front of the TV, embeds exercise into your daily routine in a fun way.