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Play Wales – The World is Our Playground

If you’re in, Cardiff, Llanelli, Wrexham, Port Talbot or Colwyn Bay over the next two weeks, keep your eyes peeled for some new worlds of play that have popped up in bus shelters across Wales…

Over the past 18 months, children – like the rest of us – have faced restrictions, isolation, and uncertainty.

The recent Coronavirus and Me report published in January 2021 by the Children’s Commissioner for Wales revealed that 14% of seven to 11-year-olds reported feeling lonely most of the time, with that figure doubling for 12–18-year-olds (28%).

Not being able to play with friends during the pandemic has had a huge impact on children’s lives, with children aged seven to 11 in Wales also reporting having played less in January 2021, compared to May 2020.

To inspire children to get back to playing, Play Wales approached us to launch their Summer of Play campaign throughout the entire summer holidays.

To ground the creative concepts in insight, we hosted focus groups with parents and had internal sessions with Play Wales. During these sessions, one common theme emerged – the power of imagination. A child’s imagination is a precious and it has no boundaries, allowing them to play whenever they want and wherever they may be.

With this thought seeded into our creative’s minds, we set about finding a way to merge reality with dreamlike worlds. We wanted to show that with a little imagination, opportunities to play can be found in the most mundane of settings.

We commissioned Welsh illustrator, Sioned Medi Evans, to bring a world of imagination to life. The final product blends the real world with the imaginative world of young children. We see a forest; they see an enchanted woodland. We see the night sky; they see a new world of aliens, spaceships and a man-on-the-moon waiting to be discovered.

Overall, our creative proves that you don’t need money to encourage play, you just need the space to allow your child’s imagination to run wild. Because after all, the world is their playground.

The bus shelters also include interactive games for children to play with whilst at the bus shelter to target our audience there and then.

It was important to us and the client that the creatives were relatable to the locations in which they were located. We consulted with our Audience Lead, Ali Abdi, to ensure that the Butetown location was representative of the diverse community in which our bus shelter lives. As a result, we added an additional language to the bus shelter – seen below with our gnome wishing you well in English, Welsh and Arabic.

If you’re out and about and see one of the bus stops, take a picture and tag @playfulchildhoods @playwales and #SummerOfPlay.

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