A lack of play is harming children’s mental health

Fewer play opportunities for young children means they are less likely to develop the inner resilience they will need to face the challenges of their teenage years

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We can all recall lightbulb moments when some things have fallen into place and become more clearly focused. I unexpectedly had just that sort of experience when I attended my first International Play Association world conference last September in the Canadian city of Calgary.

I’ve been a long-term advocate of the importance of play in children’s development, and it was my intention to spend more of my free time promoting play after leaving office as Scotland’s commissioner for children and young people last year. And so I found myself at this big event – in terms of both scale and ambition – ...

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