Aberlour Children’s Charity is relaunching regular outdoor play sessions for the under 5’s following a surge in demand for access to play in Aberdeen City.
Aberdeen Play Forum, supported by Aberlour, aims to increase opportunities for children to be healthy and happy, form friendships and learn vital skills from playing outdoors.
This year, the team saw increased demand for their play sessions following a challenging year for families with young children. Concerned parents noted the limited opportunities for their children to play outdoors during the lockdowns and socialise with children their age. Since January 2021, The Play Forum has received enquiries from over 320 families interested in attending their play sessions. So far this year, The Play Forum operated at a reduced capacity, organising 61 play sessions attended by a total of 703 children.
After recently finishing a successful series of summer play sessions, enabled by funding from Aberlour, Aberdeen City Council, and Inspiring Scotland, the Play Forum team are delighted to be able to continue to provide play sessions; allowing more children and families to attend safely.
The Aberdeen Play Forum team runs inclusive play sessions from their base on Sunnybank Road and in parks across the city. Children have a great time playing with recyclable resources and doing fun messy play activities. The play sessions, which have resumed this week, are aimed at children under 5 years old and also older children up to the age of 11.
Aberlour Play Development Worker, Karen Shepherd said, “Everyone at the Play Forum is thrilled we can now run more play sessions for the under 5’s age group. We strongly believe that outdoor play is important for a child’s personal and social development. Our sessions allow children to play with others their age, learn vital skills, have fun and be curious, all while enjoying the outdoors. Many parents who came along this year have told us it also helps them to connect with other parents who have faced similar challenges throughout COVID-19.”
One mum who came to the play sessions with her 2-year-old said: “My daughter has gained so much more confidence since coming here. Over the last year, she hasn’t really seen other children her age other than when we went to the park. She was really shy at the start, but now she speaks to everybody. It’s been great to speak to the other parents too and relate to them.”
Another mum who attends with her son said: “My son has enjoyed socialising the most. As soon as we park the car, he says ‘I want to see my friends’. It’s given me a purpose and a routine, something to look forward to in the week. Me and another parent now meet for play dates at the park because we’re in the same boat.”
Under 5’s play sessions run on various days, with a choice of morning or afternoon sessions. Bookings can be made through Eventbrite by visiting: aberdeen-play-forum.eventbrite.com Enquiries can be made by contacting the team on Facebook @AberdeenPlayForum