As various green spaces across England reopen their doors to the public once again, many parents are wondering when they can take kids to playgrounds to burn off some energy.
The government previously described playgrounds as “high risk” areas for contracting the virus - so when will they be safe to visit?
This is everything you need to know.
Are playgrounds open?
Under current government rules, playgrounds and outdoor gyms are still closed to the public.
The government released advice allowing outdoor facilities, such as basketball courts and golf courses, to reopen their doors to the public.
However the guidance, which was updated on 1 June, stated: “Outdoor gyms, playgrounds and outdoor and indoor swimming pools will remain closed.”
While the government’s scientific advisory group, SAGE, has said that the risk of infection outside is significantly lower than inside, playgrounds still pose a higher risk for contracting the virus.
The government’s Covid-19 recovery strategy document states: “You will still not be able to use areas like playgrounds, outdoor gyms or ticketed outdoor leisure centre, where there is a higher risk of close contact and touching surfaces.”
When will playgrounds reopen?
Playgrounds could follow the same reopening schedule as gyms and other leisure centres due to the similar way that equipment is touched and shared between multiple people.
If this is the case, playgrounds may be able to open in July at the earliest. This is when other leisure venues like gyms, cinemas and restaurants with outdoor spaces could be allowed to reopen.
This is part of step three in the government's phased approach to lifting lockdown restrictions, and it will occur “no earlier than July 4”, according to the government’s road map document.
The aim of this step will be to “open at least some of the remaining businesses and premises that have been required to close” including public places and leisure facilities.
These venues will have to meet Covid-19 secure guidelines.
How do I keep children entertained in lockdown?
There are various ways to keep children entertained while lockdown restrictions continue to keep them away from spaces like playgrounds.
There are loads of way to keep your kids entertained during lockdown - why not try out some of these ideas:
- Finger painting
- Learning origami
- Baking kid friendly recipes
- Making a scrapbook
- Trying out indoor gardening
- Doing a Joe Wicks exercise class
- Making homemade ice lollies
- Learning an instrument
- Building a hut, in your garden or your living room
- Give the kids bedroom a makeover
How do I look after my child’s mental health?
The government released guidance for parents and carers specifically focusing on supporting the mental health and wellbeing of children and young people during the coronavirus.
The guidance said: “Regardless of their age, this may be a difficult time for children and young people. Some may react immediately, while others may show signs of difficulty later on.”
The guidance explains that creating a new routine could be helpful, as routine “gives children and young people an increased feeling of safety in the context of uncertainty”.
It also explains that you should “look out for any changes in their behaviour” and that you should “listen to them, acknowledge their concern and give them extra love and attention if they need it”.
MindEd is also a free online educational resource on children and young people’s mental health for adults, which you can access here.