Playing at home

Our homes are great places for children to play. Making time and space for children to play in their home every day is important. Children will make creative use of the available space – even the corner of a room or garden – if they have a few items to play with and the
freedom to play.

There’s lots of fun ideas that don’t require much room, including old favourites like hide and seek or building a den out of cushions and blankets. Older children still need room and space to play inside too – children need to rough and tumble as part of their play. Focusing on play ideas without rules or that don’t need a specific skill are fun for family members of all ages and will help pass the time in a playful way. These sorts of activities will also provide fun and security during an experience of loss and isolation.

For ideas for playing at home visit:

Playing outdoors safely

Current regulations mean that children are mostly playing at home, or if outside following government guidance around social distancing and only with members of our household. Whilst we are all required to follow the guidelines, it is still possible to spend time outdoors.
But we need to make choices that make it easier to keep our distance. It’s very difficult for children to control their distance when they are playing, particularly when they are engaged in active play or there are other children nearby, so they may need their parents’ help with this.

Preparing and gathering a selection of play items to take along to outdoor spaces may help to keep it interesting. Simple play items such as balls, hoops, chalk, small toys such as cars and animals can make it easier for children to have fun in their local area.

For more ideas visit:


Why playing is important

Playing – indoors and outdoors – is good for children. Playing is the most natural and enjoyable way for children and teenagers to be active, keep well and be happy. Children also develop and learn in all sorts of ways while playing. Playing helps children develop self-esteem, imagination, creativity, co-ordination, confidence, concentration communication skills, balance … but most of all playing is fun!

Despite the pandemic, children will still need and want to play. It can contribute to improved well-being during times of stress and uncertainty. It is children’s way of supporting their own health and well-being. Playing helps children manage their emotions
and make sense of their situation. Even if children may sometimes seem distressed, playing is the healthy way for children to come to terms with news and it gives parents and carers an insight to how they are feeling.

For more information about why play matters visit:


Useful web pages

The following web pages may be of interest and useful for sharing with parents and friends:

• 35 indoor play ideas – a checklist for all the family

• 50 indoor play ideas – another list of simple games and activities!

• Playing at home guide – a handy booklet full of practical ideas and tips for parents

• Active play in and around the home – information about the importance of playing and making sense of the physical activity guidelines for children of all ages

• Play ideas for parents – playing actively indoors

• Supporting children’s well-being through play – tips and ideas for parents


A handy guide to help parents and carers to support their children to have plenty of good opportunities to play during the pandemic. The Playing at home guide provides helpful reminders, ideas and tips about play for all children – no matter how old they are.
The guide features information about:
• Why play matters for your child
• Supporting children’s well-being through play
• Parenting playfully
• Screen time – for children of all ages
• Preparing your child to play out confidently
… and plenty of free and simple play ideas for all the family.
Download the guide at: