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Children’s Play and Independent Mobility in 2020: Results from the British Children’s Play Survey

Abstract

The British Children’s Play Survey was conducted in April 2020 with a nationally representative sample of 1919 parents/caregivers with a child aged 5–11 years. Respondents completed a range of measures focused on children’s play, independent mobility and adult tolerance of and attitudes towards risk in play. The results show that, averaged across the year, children play for around 3 h per day, with around half of children’s play happening outdoors. Away from home, the most common places for children to play are playgrounds and green spaces. The most adventurous places for play were green spaces and indoor play centres. A significant difference was found between the age that children were reported to be allowed out alone (10.74 years; SD = 2.20 years) and the age that their parents/caregivers reported they had been allowed out alone (8.91 years; SD = 2.31 years). A range of socio-demographic factors were associated with children’s play. There was little evidence that geographical location predicted children’s play, but it was more important for independent mobility. Further, when parents/caregivers had more positive attitudes around children’s risk-taking in play, children spent more time playing and were allowed to be out of the house independently at a younger age. 

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