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Play - Impact of COVID19 Restrictions on Young Children's Play, Learning and Development: Key Findings from the Play and Learning in the Early Years (PLEY) Survey - Play



Play - Impact of COVID19 Restrictions on Young Children's Play, Learning and Development: Key Findings from the Play and Learning in the Early Years (PLEY) Survey - Play Infographic
Play and Friends
Changes in Play Activities
Impact of Restrictions
Play and Learning in the Early Years
90% miss their friends
87% miss playing with other children
72%said play was affected by restrictions
34% have brought the virus into their play
Most children's play activities have
been impacted by the virus
"Cycling more
with daily trips to the
park. Trampoline is popular.
Very content."
(Age 9)
Parents have reported positive and negative impacts on play:
About the PLEY Survey:
Data provided by 506
parents of children aged 1-10,
collected online between May
21st and June 3rd 2020
"More play
with his siblings.
Less arguing."
(Age 9)
"Pretending they
are the Coronavirus in
chase games"
(Age 9)
Th is r es ea rc h wa s ca rr ie d ou t by t he C og ni ti on ,
De ve lo pm en t, a nd L ea rn in g La b @M IC L im er ic k
0 25 50 75 100
Screen Activities
Outdoor Play
Games & Toys
Reading/Story Time
School Work
Most children have spent more
time playing outdoors, with
games and toys and on screen
"Plays on his own more now.
Play has become more sophisticated,
he has created whole worlds using blocks,
animals, items from the recycling bin. The
absence of massive structure & rushing in his
day has given him an opportunity to just
be & let his imagination run wild."
(Age 5)
"She is in front of the TV
for 5-6 hours per day because I
have to work. Before this she was in
creche with other children. I take short
breaks to play with her. She often looks
bored and under-stimulated"
(Age 2)
"Although we as
parents play with her I
know she misses kids
style of play a lot."
(Age 5)
80% have gone for a walk in
their neighbourhood at least
once a week, with
Over a third going for a walk
"Playing dead, playing
doctors, pretend washing
hands, pretend teacher
enforcing social distancing"
(Age 7)
"Made a hospital
with patients, ventilator
& test centre with Lego"
(Age 9)
Egan, S.M., Beatty, C. & Hoyne, C. (2020).PLEY COVID-19 Key Finding Series - Play.Mary Immaculate College
"Not having another
child to play with means less
pretend play/role play and
more reading, building toys,
board and card games."
(Age 6)
"Built model of
virus out of
construction toys"
(Age 6)
Compared to before the crisis:
More Time
Same Time
Less Time
78% 14% 8%
74% 13% 13%
58% 31% 11%
30% 56% 14%
16% 21% 63%
football has been
very hard for him"
(Age 10)
... This is in keeping with findings from a large study in Ireland on the experiences of primary school leaders during initial school closures in which the majority of leaders (68.8%) reported the widespread use of play as one of the key methodologies to engage children in online learning during the pandemic. An emphasis on play among parents in Ireland was also reported by Egan and her colleagues (Egan, Chloe Beatty, and Hoyne 2020) who found that up to 78% of over 500 parents, of children aged one to ten years, reported an increase in time spent engaging in outdoor play, play with games and toys as well as on-screen activities in comparison to before the pandemic. Cross-cultural findings reported by Samuelsson, Wagner, and Ødegaard (2020) across three ECE centers in Sweden, Norway and the US indicate the incorporation of dramatic play activities as part of remote schooling as well as the provision of activities and resources for parents. ...
Full-text available
School closures due to the COVID-19 pandemic have disrupted the education of 91% of students worldwide. As a critical process in supporting young children’s resilience, play is increasingly recognised as a valuable pedagogical strategy within a shifting educational landscape during the pandemic. This study reports on findings from a survey on play in early childhood education of 310 early childhood teachers during primary school closures in Ireland. Eighty-two per cent of teachers recommended play strategies to parents during remote teaching and home schooling and almost all teachers (99%) intended to use play as a pedagogical strategy upon school reopening. Teachers believed play was an especially important pedagogical tool in supporting young children’s social-emotional development, learning and transition back to school. Over a third highlighted uncertainty surrounding capacity to use play upon school reopening given COVID-19 regulations, emphasising the need for greater guidance to support teachers’ commitment to play-based pedagogical strategies.
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