Play during lockdown – by Sumaya, 10

Image: Play Wales

A 10-year-old girl’s experiences of play during lockdown in Wales has shone a light on just how important play is to youngsters, both for their pleasure and physical & mental health.

Play Wales, the national charity for children’s play in Wales, shared the thoughts of Sumaya, from Cardiff, as part of a desire to hear from children how they were feeling and coping with play restrictions during the pandemic lockdowns.

Like most children she was initially happy there was no school, and she also describes how being able to play games online with friends has been such a help.

Here’s what Sumaya had to say:

‘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 managed 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!’

‘The virus kept ruining our fun!’

Play Wales say that Sumaya’s story ‘reminds us how important playing is to children well-being and happiness’, and that as society continues to work its way way through the pandemic and the various restrictions attached to it, ‘children still need and want to play’. 

Play Wales raises awareness of every child’s need and right to play, and promotes good practice at all levels of the decision-making processes. It is funded by the Welsh Government. Click here for more about its work.

Author: Simon Weedy

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