young girl hammering nails into a wood plank
Getting stuck in to some constructive Build and Play

Showing the way in encouraging children to play

A season of play is underway for tamariki and rangatahi across the Hutt Valley this summer.

From swinging hammers onto nails through Build and Play, to slipping and sliding through Summer Playdays, Hutt’s youngsters have been benefiting from a host of targeted play opportunities provided by Council’s Active in the Hutt team.

Hutt City Council Sport and Recreation Programmes Manager Mark Curr said the wide range of opportunities for play were a key part of developing the physical, social, emotional and cognitive wellbeing of children across the Hutt Valley.

“As a way to enable children to have fun while enhancing their wellbeing, play is well embedded in the practices of Hutt City Council’s Active in the Hutt team.

“It is vital that our young people are exposed to new things, and are shown a spectrum of ‘wow’ opportunities so that we can get them away from screens this summer.

“We recognise play as the cornerstone of physical literacy, we believe that more play in the lives of our tamariki now will lead to more confidence and competence in being active later in their lives.”

The Build and Play with Cummings Kilgariff and Co trailer gives children the chance for free, creative and, occasionally, risky play with a trailer load of tools such as saws, hammers, hand drills, timber, PVC pipes, tennis balls and recycled items.

children use saws to cut large cardboard tubes

Curr said the trailer had visited 20 schools across the Hutt giving 3335 schoolkids the chance to make more than 15,000 individual creations since it was launched in May 2018.

He said the Summer Playdays, which were now in their third year, took and encouraged spontaneous free-form play and activity to outdoor spaces such as parks, reserves and community spaces.

“Children are given the chance to experience playing with water and bubbles, jump rope, ball games, hula hoops, trampolines and more.

“Play equipment is provided and families are free to let their imaginations run wild as to how and what they play.”

Tamariki enjoying the bubbles and slip ‘n’ slide at Riddiford Gardens Play Day

Support for and appreciation for the Play Days from the community had also been strong, parent Vini Iosua said the idea was a fantastic way to get children active outdoors.

“Yesterday’s play day was so successful I wanted to jump in and join. I’m so glad it went ahead and love seeing Mark Curr and the team interacting with our communities.

“It was a great turn out, great fun and the children loved it, plus it got the kids off their devices and into bed early so we could chill.”

Curr said the concept of play as a way to help tamariki and rangatahi to develop was well integrated in the Hutt, led by the Play in the Hutt case study, a collaborative exploration of the benefits of play between Sport New Zealand, Hutt City Council and Healthy Families Hutt Valley.

“There are countless opportunities for us to help children to develop by getting them outside to play, we hope what we are doing now is just part of the way along the play journey we want to take children on in the Hutt Valley.”

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