The aim of National Play Day is to promote play opportunities for children and young people all across the country, with this year’s theme being Playful Communities. The National Play Day grant scheme is one part of the wider Summer of Play campaign; a government-led initiative designed to remind everyone, young and old, of the fundamental importance of play.

In line with the ‘back to basics’ theme the Ballinahown Development Commitment decided to embrace simple, child led play experiences for children. To do this a series of simple, old time play experiences were planned and executed for children such as sack races, parachute games, bubble  making, block building, football and races.

Recreation Activities included traditional play ground games, some of which required only playful children and adults such as hide and seek, catch, follow the leader, stuck in the mud etc. The aim of the day was for children to engage in play for plays sake, to enjoy the freedom that playing outdoors brought and to interact with their friends, families and communities in the local playground in Ballinahown. These simple playground games were suggested to the children and facilitated and encouraged by the adults present but ultimately, the children will directed their own play choices as they did in the past. We went going ‘back to basics!’

For children who need a little more direction or assistance in their play, a schedule of events was available to include those activities mentioned in the first section. Also available on the day was a self directed nature treasure trail. All children were provided with a list of items to identify in nature and return their completed list to the Play Day Leader. All children received a prize for the efforts.

Finally a Goodie Box was provided to all families who attended. This Goodie Box included the basic ingredients of play such as skipping ropes, yoyos, balls, playdough, bubbles and a tip-sheet, written by the National Council for Curriculum and Assessment, for parents on both the importance of play and simple play ideas with children. This tip sheet is available here.

The weather was on our side and the day was deemed a great success by all participants. We would like to take this opportunity to thank Westmeath County Council for their support in running such a successful event.

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