News | 2 September 2021
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Inspiring play in lockdown

We’re on a mission to promote play, an essential part of childhood development - and crucial to the survival of parents during a global pandemic! There is no better time than now to review how and when our whānau play.

A boy climbing up a tree, hanging onto the trunk with one arm while the other reaches over to another tree, with a girl sitting on another branch behind him.

To support families and young people through Lockdown 2021, we’ve joined forces with our Regional Sports Trust, Nuku Ora, to share a series of advice from whānau to whānau. Together, we’ll explore how the play experiences of Wellington parents and caregivers can support you as we move through the changing alert levels. 


The series includes three parts, each focused on a different age group: Part 1: Sustaining play for preschoolers, Part 2: Inspiring play for primary-aged kids, and Part 3: Motivating play for teenagers. 

We asked 40 local families to share their secrets to healthy, fun, child-led play, during a global pandemic lockdown. Advice ranged depending on where people lived, the weather, the ages of each of their children and the tools they had. However, there were common messages, which are a great reminder for us all.


A young boy, about four-years-old, wearing a wide-brim sunhat, green shorts and a yellow t-shit, running over a colourfully-painted wooded plank that is balanced like a seesaw over a log, with a white picket fence and white garage with black roller door in background.

Play is age-less

Play is essential at any age, not just for little kids. Children and young people have a natural urge to play. By allowing enough time, appropriate spaces and giving permission and support are essential ingredients for play. For example, ask your child where their favourite places to play around home are, then make a plan to explore that place, and others, every day.

Play gets us all active

Research shows that children and young people get over half of their daily movement through play! Building play-breaks into your lockdown routine is a positive whānau wellbeing tool. Try building an obstacle course or bike track with your kids in your backyard or a nearby reserve.

Play is a learning tool

Struggling to find balance between school, work, and screen time? Allowing children to explore their local world through play is where their brains get to practice and learn life-skills. Playing may be better for learning than you think! An example could be counting birds flying past, observing their different noises, building a bird box, drawing a bird, or designing a dance, and so on.