Sport NZ to protect kids’ play
Kiwi kids are not playing like they used to, and their parents are partly to blame, according to Sport New Zealand.
Sport NZ play consultant Scott Mackenzie said childhood play is under threat, but his organisation has a plan to protect the right of young New Zealanders to play.
‘‘A lack of time, space and permission to play mean fewer Kiwi kids are having the same playful upbringing enjoyed by previous generations,’’ Mackenzie said.
‘‘There are a number of reasons for this – factors like technology, a more risk-averse parenting approach, and infill housing that means many families don’t have backyards to get out and play in.’’
Quality play is the vital starting point for equipping children with the motivation, confidence, physical competence, knowledge and understanding that allows them to value and engage in physical activity for life, Mackenzie said.
Sport NZ released a new set of seven principles that recognise, and will be used to protect, the right of young Kiwis to play.
Play, in this instance, is described as an activity that is spontaneous, personally directed, freely chosen and fun.
Among the principles are the ideals that young people must have access to enriched and varied playful experiences within their local area, play should include the opportunity to be active, adults should have limited input and young people need the opportunity to experience risk and challenge through play.
The release of the principles coincides with United Nations Universal Children’s Day, celebrated annually on November 20 to promote international togetherness, awareness among children worldwide, and improving children’s welfare.
‘‘So much about enhancing and enabling quality play opportunities and experiences comes from good policies and plans,’’ Mackenzie said.
Sport NZ will work with the Aktive - Auckland Sport & Recreation, Auckland Council and play NGOs to see the principles enacted.
Sport New Zealand wants to protect play in line with UNESCO’s right for kids to play.