On Friday 24th April, Minister Zappone launched an initiative for children –
Let’s Play Ireland a gov.ie resource to support children and young people’s play during this time.
Let’s Play Ireland is an online portal on Gov.ie, providing access to a range of play resources for children. The Department of Children and Youth Affairs has worked with key experts across various sectors, Early Years, Education, Health, Local Authorities, Academic Partners in UCC and Mary Immaculate College, Creative Ireland, Tusla and others, in order to develop this resource.
Launching Let’s Play Ireland Minister Zappone said:
“Let’s Play Ireland is a government-led initiative which is designed to remind us all, young and old, of the fundamental importance of play. Playing is central to children’s physical, mental, social and emotional health and wellbeing. Children learn through play while developing resilience, flexibility and understanding of their world. Play in families enriches childhood and, right now, in the midst of these uncertain and troubling times, play is more important than ever. Play connects us with others and with the world around us. Play makes possible!
I want to stress that this initiative is by no means intended to create another pressure for busy parents. Rather the opposite, it intends to provide positive reassurance to parents about simply allowing their children to play and supporting a positive environment for this. The Let’s Play Ireland website will provide information on playing in a time of crisis, the right to play, ideas for play, playful families, screen time during the crisis and useful links and resources.”
Additional resources will be continually developed and added to the Let’s Play Ireland online portal on Gov.ie. Over the coming weeks the campaign will focus on different themes including Early Years; Storytelling; Play for Play’s Sake; Playful Learning; Play and Families; Play and Creativity and Play to Support Well Being
As well as activities for parents to enjoy with their children, the online resources also give tips on supporting children with their feelings, and ideas and activities for learning through play. The Department of Children and Youth Affairs hope the ideas on the website will encourage parents to support their children to use their imagination and own experiences to explore and make new discoveries – from role play, to creative arts, to light play, to malleable materials and many more. The website also includes ideas for how to use resources that can be found at home.
Over the coming weeks Laois County Council and other partner organisations will be promoting Let’s Play Ireland and highlighting local resources that have been put in place to encourage children’s play!