Meet Helen and Alice. They love to research play and would like to tell you a story about research.


Once upon a time there were some researchers in UCC who thought they knew a lot about play. After all, they remembered what they loved to play when they were small a long time ago.

They thought play was about colouring, building blocks, riding a bike and play was for all children.


Now that they were adults, they also thought play was about showing your child what to do and how to play. But one day they saw a child doing this and they wondered what kind of play is this?


They asked other researchers but nobody knew. No one knew what to call this kind of play. Oh, no, what were they going to do? Then they had a brainwave, ask the children! So they asked lots of children to see if they had an answer.


The children told the researchers that play includes lots of different things that the researchers had not even thought about. There was stamping on the ground play, playing circles in the rain play, hanging out play, playing with my dog play and sometimes children even showed the adults how to play too. Above all, children told the researchers that play was fun and made them feel good.


But then children said sometimes playgrounds that adults built are not much fun and not for all children either. So they thought hard and explained to the researchers how playgrounds could be more fun.


In the end, the researchers found out that adults do not really know enough about play at all and we need help from children to learn about play because after all, children are the experts.


The end.


For more information on our research with children and how it is informing playground design, check out Alice More, Irish Research Council Scholar and Helen Lynch, Horizon 2020 play researcher.