UNICEF reports that 43% of children under 5 (over 250 Million) are failing to reach their development potential which causes life-long negative consequences and perpetuates the cycle of poverty . Barriers to effective brain development include the stress of disadvantage, cultural ideas about child needs , rote learning and household chores (particularly falling onto girls). Children in emergency situations face even greater challenges.
Playground Ideas' resources allow anyone, anywhere to create play for children, using locally sourced and recycled materials. Nowhere is play more beneficial than in emergencies, yet this is often where its importance is rarely understood. Playground Ideas has created tools, handbooks and teacher training manuals that promote the importance of play and the impact it can have on children's learning, and gives practical tools for how to create low-cost play spaces and loose parts boxes that can be easily maintained in emergency environments. Teachers, parents or community members in emergency situations can create a free account on our website and then gain access to a huge range of resources, as well as personal support and advice. The loose parts manual guides users through a step-by-step process to create their own unique loose parts play kit. In emergency situations, loose parts play materials allow play opportunities and offer many benefits over traditional, fixed equipment spaces. They are cheap or free to create, can accommodate all types of play and children of all abilities and encourage peer play and social cohesion. Play can be an intuitive method for children to process trauma and reconnect to the world. Longitudinal studies conducted over decades have shown that increased play during early childhood creates the foundation for development of cognitive and social skills that help to determine an individual's lifetime earnings. (Gertler, 2013)