Looking back and looking ahead to Playday

Guest post by Andy Grout.

I was just finding five minutes to grab a bite when a member of staff popped their head around the door and said ‘well look how things come around!’  They were referring to a flyer they had found in some archive material which had a montage of children playing along the foot of the page – a design we have just used on one of our vehicles, but didn’t realise the significance.


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Then what struck me was that this piece of paper was an appeal for help for a Playday in 1978! Now this obviously was just a local event as National Playday was born in 1987, but it brought home to me that bringing children, their parents and their communities together for a single day to celebrate the importance of play is just as important now as it was all those years ago.


This week is Playday 2013 and we are building up to our own MK Playday alongside our partners, the Parks Trust, Milton Keynes Council, Community Action: MK and the MK Dons (Sport and Educational Trust). We have been planning our celebration for around six months and a huge amount of human and financial resource will finally come to fruition next Wednesday! But it will all have been achieved by goodwill, partnership and hard work, because there has been little financial input.


I believe this demonstrates how good play people are at making play happen with little or no resources. We are experts at creating a play environment with some low cost resources and huge amounts of creativity and imagination. By the end of Wednesday I am absolutely sure that thousands and thousands of children and their families across our four nations will have had enormous amounts of fun. I also hope that those who need to see and hear our message about the importance of children having freedom to play will take notice.


Andy Grout is the Chief Executive of Milton Keynes Play Association.


Playday is the national for play! Playday 2013 will be on Wednesday 7 August and the theme will be Playful placesThe Playful places campaign is calling on everyone to help make sure that the places where children play and hang out are great places to play.

2 Responses to “Looking back and looking ahead to Playday”
  1. janeplayengland says:

    I was going to say its amazing that communities come together year after year to play .. but actually its not really is it .. its what communities do, with support from great Play Associations and passionate people .. and as long as their are children who want to play – we will Playday .. in gardens, beaches, car-parks, moors and parks, all over the country .. Have a great day Milton Keynes .. and all my play friends ..

  2. Mick Conway says:

    There’s nothing new under the sun! I think it was Peter Heseltine who told me that the first thing called Playday he could remember was in 1966!

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