Kids’ play is more fun in the shade

Why parents are choosing indoor play as the smart option this summer

The unusually high temperatures in April over the double Easter and Royal Weekend Bank Holiday weekends saw children head outside in droves to enjoy the sunshine. Indoor centres struggled to compete with the novelty of such good weather so early on in the year, despite the great health benefits of indoor play, with equipment that features a variety of play opportunities to help children acquire movement skills so important to their development.

The best thing about indoor play is that children don’t realise they are getting a work out, compared to other more structured sports, as they are engaging in “exercise in disguise” and a whole lot of fun.

For some children however, the summer does not necessarily equal fun in the sun. Even if temperatures do edge above 18 degrees and the skies are clear, many children suffer from severe asthma or hay fever and very young children often become easily tired in conditions of extreme heat. Also the dangers of sunburn and sunstroke, particularly for young children, should not be underestimated. A child can really benefit from some time out of the sun and indoor play centres are ideal venues giving parents a chance to relax, safe in the knowledge that all play centres certified by the Play Providers Association undergo rigorous checks to ensure that all their play equipment is checked daily and independently inspected annually to meet the required national standards and staff are fully trained with centres having appropriate insurances are in place.

The DANGERS of sunburn and sunstroke, particularly for YOUNG CHILDREN, should not be underestimated”. Cancer Research UK advises parents to be SunSmart with their children and to take extra care during the hottest part of the day between 11am and 3pm. As heat aggravates dust and smog, this period is when air pollution and the pollen count are at their highest. Some good advice to follow is to slip on a t-shirt, slap on a hat and slop on some sun cream to avoid getting sunburnt. Reminding ourselves of safety in the sun is an important message for children to learn early on.

But even if it rains this summer, or it’s simply too hot and dusty for your child to play outside, there are still other ways to play, drop in to your local Play Providers Association (PPA) approved indoor soft play centre. Indoor play can provide a welcome break for parents and gives children the chance to play in a cool and safe indoor space. A child benefits from some time out of the sun and gives parents a chance to relax safe in the knowledge that all PPA play centres undergo rigorous checks to ensure that all their play equipment is checked daily and independently inspected annually to meet the required national standards and staff are fully trained and appropriate insurances are in place.

With the classic unpredictability of British weather, it’s beyond most people to try and guess whether we will have a heat wave or a complete washout this summer and whether children will be quite so keen to get out of the house.

The worst thing in the summer holidays is a bored child and after several visits to the local park in the first week of the holidays children are often desperate to find somewhere new and exciting to play. So keep your children active this summer, rain or shine, and pay us a visit!

Maria Johnson
Mother of two and Owner of Eddie Catz children’s playcentres