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Older children play too – new info sheet


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Playing, particularly in terms of children’s development, tends to receive much greater attention in the early years of children’s lives (up to the age of seven) than in later childhood. Playing is mostly associated with the behaviour of very young children, again overlooking and potentially dismissing its value for older children. 

This emphasis on the role and value of play for younger children could lead adults to thinking that people grow out of playing around the age of 10, just when they move to secondary school. However, by only spending a short time in the company of teenagers it’s evident that this is clearly not true.

Older children play too explores the play of older children, particularly those in early and middle adolescence (around the ages of 11 to 16). This information sheet looks at: 

  • Avoiding assumptions based on age alone
  • Understanding the adolescent brain
  • Play behaviours of older children and their benefits 
  • Where older children play and why
  • Barriers to play and the social consequences 
  • Providing for play.

The information sheet is aimed at playworkers, but it’s a useful resource for anyone working with children.

Download | view online 

This information sheet has been written by Mike Barclay, co-director of Ludicology which provides advice, research and training to all concerned with children’s play. He is also a qualified playworker, design engineer and adult trainer and has a background in out of school childcare and open access play provision.