Playtime gets on curriculum for thousands

FOR staff at one Yorkshire museum, giving children the chance to enjoy play is the top priority every day.

But today Eureka, the National Children’s Museum, in Halifax, is part of a countrywide effort to get more youngsters playing.

National Playday events are taking place across country from this morning with more than 850,000 children expected to take part.

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It comes as new figures show that children are much less likely to play out now than in previous generations. A survey, published today to coincide with the event, reveals more than half of adults questioned reported playing out at least seven times a week when they were growing up, compared with less than a quarter of children today.

Mick Conway, one of the co-founders of Playday, said: “Ingredients for a great playday: a bit of space and whatever bits and pieces are to hand. Just add some children and they’ll do the rest.

“Playday can be any size or any shape from a family picnic 
to a huge event in a park – celebrate it where you are with what you have and see what happens.”

At Eureka today’s events are part of a six-week long Playfest event aimed at getting families to keep coming back to the museum.

Playday activities include an animals in tuition class where children can meet a range of unusual creatures, an interactive puppet show and, weather permitting, an outdoor trail including the Gruffalo from the popular Julia Donaldson books.

The Playfest has seen a range of extra attractions for children to enjoy throughout this summer.

Outside the museum next to its playground and huge sandpit are two new marquees containing a Playfest Tent and a Laughter Tent which will be in place throughout the summer holidays. And activities yesterday included performances about the ancient Greeks and the chance to play traditional Viking games.

Tom Warman, marketing and development director at Eureka, said: “The aim of National Playday to give children the chance to enjoy play is what we are all about.

“We launched Playfest last year and have made it bigger and better this time. Our ethos is about making play accessible to everyone.”

He added: “Rather than paying for an expensive day at say a theme park, the idea behind Playfest is that for the price of a pass people can keep coming back and trying new things.”