Playing Out is about being able to play outside the front door of your home. This isn’t a new thing. On some streets and estates this still happens. Children still want to play close to home with friends. However, nowadays, this can be difficult due to more traffic and cars on the road. This means that children, their families and the community could be missing out.
In response to this problem, there is the opportunity for neighbours to close their street to through traffic for a couple of hours, creating a safe space for children to play out. This idea is now known as Play Streets.
Play Streets allow residents to close their street to traffic for a set amount of time. For example, it could be the 1st Saturday of every month for one hour. This allows children to play freely, without organised games or activities. This could include cycling, scooting, skating, hopscotch and kicking a ball around.
Play Streets is organised and led by residents on the street. All neighbours are consulted and the road is legally and safely closed to through traffic. Play Streets is stewarded by residents and residents can still leave their cars on the road. Residents entering the street with their vehicle during the Play Streets time can still do as stewards will walk their vehicle to their house so everyone remains safe.
It is vital for their happiness, physical and emotional development and social learning.
The most accessible everyday space to a child – as long as it’s safe – is the one right outside their front door.
Play is the easiest and most natural way for children to get the exercise they need to be healthy – all they really need is easy access to a safe space. Some homes do not have gardens and in cities these tend to be small. Children often can’t get to parks or other open spaces easily, whereas the street (or estate space) is right there where they live.
Street play creates new opportunities for socialising and friendships. It brings residents of all ages together by providing a common space. It can make residents feel like a team and that they have a responsibility to work together, therefore increasing the safety of the neighbourhood.
As well as gaining physical skills like cycling or skating, playing out gives children a chance to learn important social skills and gain understanding about the world around them. Through dealing with situations as they arise, they gain confidence and an ability to manage risk, leading to greater independence.
We can support residents to set up a Play Street. The type of things we can help with includes:
If you have had a chat with your neighbours about Play Streets and there are a few of you onboard that would like your street to get involved, then please complete the Play Streets expression of interest form.
If you are interested in Play Streets but are unsure of how to approach your neighbours, why not use this example letter to invite them to discuss it with you.
For more information on Play Streets in the district, please contact email@example.com
Further resources are available from www.playingout.net