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The Effect COVID Has Had on the Wants and Needs of Children in Terms of Play: Text Mining the Qualitative Response of the Happen Primary School Survey with 20,000 Children in Wales, UK between 2016 and 2021
International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, Volume: 19, Issue: 19, Start page: 12687
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Play is central to children’s physical and social development. This study examines changes in children’s response to questions on play opportunities between 2016 and 2021. Primary school children aged 8–11 in Wales participated in the HAPPEN survey between 2016 and 2021. The survey captures a range...
|Published in:||International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health|
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Play is central to children’s physical and social development. This study examines changes in children’s response to questions on play opportunities between 2016 and 2021. Primary school children aged 8–11 in Wales participated in the HAPPEN survey between 2016 and 2021. The survey captures a range of information about children’s health and wellbeing, including open-ended questions about what could make them happier. Text mining methods were used to examine how open-ended responses have changed over time in relation to play, before and, after the COVID enforced school closures. A total of 20,488 participant responses were analysed, 14,200 pre-school closures (2016 to pre-March 2020) and 6248 after initial school closures (September 2020–December 2021). Five themes were identified based on children’s open-ended responses; (a) space to play (35%), (b) their recommendations on play (31%), (c) having permission to play (20%), (d) their feelings on health and wellbeing and play (10%) and (e) having time to play (4%). Despite differences due to mitigation measures, the predominant recommendation from children after COVID is that they would like more space to play (outside homes, including gardens), more time with friends and protected time to play with friends in school and at home.
COVID; play; health; wellbeing; children
Faculty of Medicine, Health and Life Sciences
This research was funded by the National Centre for Population Health and Wellbeing, ADR UK and Play Wales.