Play is more than just fun for babies and children, it is how they learn and develop. So how can we create spaces that inspire them to develop their imagination, dexterity and physical, social, spiritual, cognitive and emotional strength? Who better to ask than the children themselves, the experts in their own play. The Northern Tasmania Early Years Group in association with the University of Tasmania, Communities for Children and Anglicare Tasmania ran a research project to investigate how best to gather input from these mini experts (aged between 3 to 12 years) and how to build fantastic play spaces.
The Launceston Children’s Views of Play Spaces Report documents a research project where children were invited to share their ideas about the kinds of play spaces they wanted in Launceston. Since its launch in 2014, the Report has been shared with town planning decision-makers and child and family focused organisations keen to develop play spaces using input from children. The Report not only describes the research project and its outcomes but also provides a template where organisations and community members can work together to gather input from children aged between 3 to 12 years about their future.
In broad terms the report recommendations propose that the five areas of wellbeing are considered in the design of recreational play spaces; secondly that children are recognised as experts who have a significant role to play in consultative processes as valued and knowledgeable citizens; and thirdly that play spaces should be accessible and inclusive environments.