The pandemic has made playing outside with friends impossible for many children.
School closure, physical distancing requirements, and home confinement have dramatically reduced young children’s access to early learning and play opportunities as well as appropriate care and well-being.
According to UNICEF, 188 countries have imposed countrywide school closures, affecting more than 1.6 billion children and youth. Many children are therefore not able to actively participate in their regular activities outside of their homes. Under such conditions, many tend to be less physically active and have longer screen time, which may affect their holistic well-being and development.
According to the United Nation’s Policy Brief on COVID-19 and Children, “there are three main ways children are affected by the crisis and this includes infection with the virus itself, immediate socioeconomic impacts of measures to stop virus transmission and end the pandemic, and the potential long-term effects of delayed implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals.”
Article 31 of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child says every child has the right to rest and leisure, to engage in play and recreational activities appropriate to the age of the child, and to participate freely in cultural life and the arts.
Unfortunately, play is considered as “laru-laro lang” in many households and communities in the country—a mindset that causes many Filipino families to view it as trivial, useless, and unimportant.
Hence, in celebration of this year’s National Play Advocacy Week on Nov. 16-22, the Philippine Play Coalition, together with its partners, reimagines play with its theme, “Making Play Happen: Reimagining Play in The Time of Crisis.”
The event kicks off with an online town hall on Nov. 16 where children and their families are encouraged to express their concerns relevant to play especially in the time where we face not only a virus outbreak but also other disasters like typhoons Rolly and Ulysses which recently struck most parts of the country.
An NPAW 2020 Partner’s Toolkit can be downloaded at bit.ly/NPAW2020Toolkit. The toolkit serves as a guideline in conducting play activities at home or through online platforms. It features the benefits of play and also contains communication materials that can be used to advertise the coolest play extravaganza of the year.