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[UN Convention on the Rights of the Child] International Play Association : Article 31 and a Child’s Right to Play

The International Play Association (IPA) has some great resources for parents and carers on coping with the current situation and supporting play.

For Parents and Carers: Play in Crisis

“We see it as an essential part of all aspects of children’s development. During times of crisis, play has a significant therapeutic role helping children recover a sense of normality and joy.”

Measuring Material Deprivation

The Government has published this document – Households Below Average Income (HBAI) Quality and Methodology Information Report.

It includes statistics on child poverty and material deprivation.

Social participation: the extent to which people are able to engage in activities that others in society would regard as the norm;
Material deprivation: the extent to which people are financially constrained in their ability to buy basic essential goods and services.

Material Deprivation scores used for children in 2017/18

Material deprivation scores used for children in 2017/18. The table shows that lack of access to hobby or leisure activity is very high (0.75) for children identified as living in . For each question a score of 1 indicates where an item is lacked because it
cannot be afforded.

A child is considered to be in low income and material deprivation if they live in a family that has a final score of 25 or more and an equivalised household income below 70 per cent of contemporary median income, before Housing Costs.

How Poverty is Identified and Measured

The Government is introducing new measurements and metrics to target support – but until these are published – we are working from 2017-18 statistics. You can read these reports in more detail here.
An estimated 3.7 million children live in absolute low income. This means that they experience material deprivation and are excluded from social participation.

Social participation: the extent to which people are able to engage in activities that others in society would regard as the norm;
Material deprivation: the extent to which people are financially constrained in their ability
to buy basic essential goods and services.

The Importance of Art in Child Development

Grace Hwang Lynch (2012)

Education and the brain: what happens when children learn?

Dr Sara Baker, (2016)
University of Cambridge

“The tricky part is to grasp the processes developing in the child’s brain and come up with ways to encourage that development. In early years’ education, playful learning and giving children freedom to explore could help to encourage independence as well as the ability to know when to ask for help, both of which depend on self-regulatory skills. If we want to encourage adaptability and self-reliance, we have to look beyond the formal curriculum.”

The Importance of Art for Child Development (2019)

“You may already know that art is a great way to treat anxiety and stress in children. But did you know that it also positively impacts their cognitive and physical development?”

“Not only that, but drawing and painting are excellent ways for children to express their feelings and emotions. And if that weren’t enough, they play a significant role in their personality development and psychological maturity.

If you want to encourage natural creativity, experts recommend offering children free drawing and painting opportunities. That way, the child can give free rein to their imagination and creative expression. Give them materials such as crayons, clay, fingerpaint, and watercolors. Let them experiment on chalkboards, cardboard, canvases, and even walls.”

The Arts in Early Childhood: Social and Emotional Benefits of Arts Participation

Melissa Menzer, Phd
National Endowment for the Arts ( (2015)

“Children can also participate in visual arts and crafts, such as playing with building blocks; drawing, painting or finger-painting; and sculpting clay or playing with sand (NEA, 2004). Participation in visual-based arts activities is largely non-verbal but does require gross and fine motor skills that enable children to construct tactile and tangible creative objects.

Consider that scribbling (which uses generally gross motor skills) is a precursor to writing and drawing distinct and recognizable objects and letters (which uses fine motor skills).

Also consider that in the early ages of life, participation in visual arts and crafts may occur only to the extent of exploring and playing, rather than creating finished works of art (NEA,

The Importance of Play in Promoting Healthy Child Development and Maintaining Strong Parent-Child Bonds

Kenneth R. Ginsburg, MD, MSEd; and the Committee on Communications and the Committee on Psychosocial Aspects of Child and Family Health (2007)

“Play is a cherished part of childhood that offers children important developmental benefits and parents the opportunity to fully engage with their children. However, multiple forces are interacting to effectively reduce many children’s ability to reap the benefits of play. As we strive to create the optimal developmental milieu for children, it remains imperative that play be included along with academic and social-enrichment opportunities and that safe environments be made available to all children.”

Hover your mouse over the books below, and tap once to read more about play & art
MaryAnn Kohl, Primary Art – It’s the Process, Not the Product (2005)
David Elkind, PhD The Power of Play (2007)

Why Art and Creativity Are Important

Paula Bernstein

Foster process-focused art with advice from Leslie Bushara, deputy director for education at the Children’s Museum of Manhattan.

  1. Avoid giving direction. 
    Don’t tell your kid what to make or how to make it. Instead of saying, “Paint a rainbow,” encourage her to “experiment with mixing colors using different types of brushes and paper,” suggests Bushara.
  2. Speak specifically about art. 
    When talking to your child about his artwork, try to be precise in your comments. For instance, instead of giving a generic compliment, Bushara recommends saying, “I see you used a lot of purple. Why did you choose that color?”
  3. Explore your child’s process. 
    Often the best way to encourage conversation about your child’s art is simply to say, “Tell me about what you made,” or ask, “Did you have fun making it?”
  4. Let it be. 
    When a child finishes a piece, don’t suggest additions or changes. It’s important for a child to feel that what she’s created is enough—even if it’s just a dot on the page.

The Inquiry Report, Creative Health: The Arts for Health and Wellbeing – Second Edition

Presents the findings of two years of research, evidence-gathering and discussions with patients, health and social care professionals, artists and arts administrators, academics, people in local government, ministers, other policy-makers and parliamentarians from both Houses of Parliament.

The All-Party Parliamentary Group on Arts, Health and Wellbeing has developed policy briefings in collaboration with the Association of Directors of Public Health, Local Government Association, National Council for Voluntary Organisations, Social Care Institute for Excellence and What Works Centre for Wellbeing.