Like children at a huge playground

Our first participation and contribution to a conference about play

By Allison Mula, Silvia Veiga Seijo, Ines Wenger, Fiona Loudoun, Rianne Jansens, Sabine Vinçon, Thomas Morgenthaler and Michelle Bergin, ESRs in P4PLAY.

After 6 months of participation in the P4PLAY project, just when we started getting an idea of what is going on in the world of play for children, we were completely blown away by the energy and diversity of the interesting studies presented at the Playful Planet Conference, hosted by the University of Birmingham, UK on July 7 and 8, 2021.

The organisers of the Playful Planet Conference offered a platform for researchers, practitioners, advocates and activists for children’s right to play to discuss how spaces can be created for play opportunities for all children. This conference’s theme focused on how inequities in the enjoyment of that right are thrown into sharp focus, currently by the pandemic, and by extension due to other reasons of deprivation. It also looked at what should be done to try and help with this situation.  In this cloud of concern, as well as ideas for creating play opportunities for children all over the world, it was interesting for us, Early Stage Researchers (ESRs), to hear and see authors presenting their work as it gives context to their publications and inspires reflexivity in our own projects. Additionally, by participating in this conference through the presentation of four P4PLAY posters, we elicited questions and thoughts concluding that research on play from an occupational science lens has added value, certainly with respect to the four perspectives of the project – people, place, policy and practice.


Word cloud created by ESRs showing the diversity of topics addressed during the conference


Inspired by this conference, we are energized to continue the journey in studying the occupation of play as it should be – a natural part of children’s lives which is best understood from the perspectives of the children themselves.

Are you curious about the Playful Planet conference? The programme and the book of abstracts can be consulted here. Are you curious about the posters presented by the P4PLAY ESRs? You can find them under the “Resources” section of the P4PLAY website here and on our Zenodo profile here.