Sense Launch ‘Play Toolkits’ for Parents and Play Settings

01 November 2016

Two women at table holding children's books and toysSense has launched brand new ‘Play Toolkits’ aimed at mainstream play settings and parents of children with sensory impairments and multiple needs.

The toolkits, which include a video mini-series and instructional guide, have been created to help make play opportunities inclusive and accessible for all children, and follow the charity’s recent inquiry into play, co-led by Lord Blunkett.

The toolkits have been designed by the charity’s Children’s Specialist Services team, in partnership with families they support. They contain simple ideas and practical tips on how to tailor play activities so that they can be enjoyed by the entire family. There is also information on the importance of play, and useful details on the legal responsibilities of play settings. To bring the inclusive play guide to life, Sense has also created a series of fun instructional videos that can be watched with children.

For the past year Sense has been campaigning for greater access to play for disabled children, following its Inquiry into the provision of play opportunities for children aged 0-5 with multiple needs in England and Wales. The Play Inquiry, which was co-chaired by Lord Blunkett, found that disabled children have significantly fewer opportunities to access play settings and activities than their non-disabled peers, with nine out of ten parents of disabled children feeling they had fewer opportunities to play than their non-disabled peers.

Lord Blunkett holding young girl in play settingSense’s Play Inquiry highlighted a number of barriers currently restricting disabled children from the play opportunities that are vital for their emotional, physical and social development, including negative attitudes from other parents, insufficient funding and a lack of attention from Government. The charity is campaigning for national and local policy changes to address the inequalities faced by families and children with multiple needs when trying to access play settings.

Steve Rose, Head of Children’s Specialist Services at Sense, said:

“Play is a vital tool for disabled children, which helps them develop physically, socially and emotionally. However, during our inquiry, we found parents across the country that were struggling to ensure their young disabled children had access to engaging play opportunities and as a result, children with multiple needs were missing out on the play they need.

The Play report published earlier in the year revealed that 95% of parents of children with multiple needs required support finding ways to play with their children. To help tackle this problem, we’ve produced these fun toolkits, which are packed with tips for developmental games and activities that the whole family can enjoy together.

We hope the Play Toolkits give families the confidence and knowledge to engage in a range of simple and engaging play activities, designed to open up the amazing world of play to children with multiple needs.”

Sense Children Specialist Services provides support to schools and settings to include children with multiple needs. 

Play toolkits and video mini-series can be downloaded here: https://www.sense.org.uk/play/toolkits

Watch the original Play report video on YouTube here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4UCfBd6O5h8