Over 25% of children claim parks are top venue for play

Parks are the most common place for children to play, according to a new survey, which reveals far fewer kids play around outside than in previous decades.

More than a quarter of children and young people play most often in the park, said Play England, which promotes play and is backed by the Big Lottery Fund. The Playday 2007 — Our Streets Too! report found the second-most common place to play is the street, with 15 per cent of children kicking about on roads. But the report found that in 2005 fewer than 20 per cent of British children played in nearby parks and streets against 75 per cent just over 30 years ago. Author Lauren Lacy said traffic was the main reason for keeping children in despite falling numbers of fatal accidents. Parents also feared “stranger danger” risks. She suggested outdoor play in parks, playgrounds and streets was “vital” to childhood and the “future health of society”. Government initiatives such as its recent Manual for Streets document and voluntary groups were positive, but there was long way to go, she said. “It is essential to look in detail at how children’s access to play has changed over time, what barriers stand in the way and what is being done to change this.” Over 1,000 young people and 1,000 adults were quizzed for this year’s Playday. The celebration of children’s right to play, organised by Play England, was on 1 August.

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