Podcast: Let us play! Children’s mental health during COVID-19

The Emerging Minds Network is pleased to share recordings from our joint webinar with The Mental Elf on 28 May 2020

The aim of the webinar was to share what research tell us about the importance of play for children’s mental health and wellbeing. We summarised what we know from reliable research and explored the practical implications for children, young people and their families right now.

The Emerging Minds Network was delighted to welcome experts in the field including: Dr Wendy Russell from the University of Gloucestershire and Prof Helen Dodd from the University of Reading, who shared their knowledge and experience and answered questions during the webinar.

This webinar was a partnership production with The Mental Elf and it is through them that these recordings are available.

Dr Wendy Russell

Webinar Slides for Download

Recommended Resources

  • Booth-LaForce, C., Rubin, K., Rose-Krasnor, L. and Burgess, K. (2005) Attachment and friendship predictors of psychosocial functioning in middle childhood and the mediating roles of social support and self-worth, in Kerns, K.A. and Richardson, R.A. (eds) Attachment in Middle Childhood, New York: The Guilford Press.
  • Cartwright-Hatton, S., Dood, H., Lester, K. and others (2020) Play First: Supporting Children’s Social and Emotional Wellbeing During and After Lockdown
  • Fantuzzo, J., Sekino, Y. and Cohen, H. (2004) An Examination of the Contributions of Interactive Peer Play to Salient Classroom Competencies for Urban Head Start Children, Psychology in the Schools, 41(3), pp. 323-336.
  • Lester, S. (2020) Everyday Playfulness: A new approach to children’s play and adult response to it, edited by Wendy Russell and Jeremy Lester, London: Jessica Kingsley Publishers.
  • Office for National Statistics (ONS) (2020) One in eight British households has no garden
  • Panksepp, J. (2005) Beyond a Joke: From animal laughter to human joy? Science, 308 (5718), pp. 62-63.
  • Qualter, P. and Munn, P. (2005) The Friendships and Play Partners of Lonely Children, Journal of Social and Personal Relationships, 22(3), pp. 379-397.
  • Resolution Foundation (2020) Housing Outlook, April
  • Sutton-Smith, B. (1999) Evolving a Consilience of Play Definitions: Playfully, in Reifel, S. (ed) Play Contexts Revisited, Play & Culture Studies, Vol. 2, pp. 239-256.
  • Sutton-Smith, B. (2003) Play as a Parody of Emotional Vulnerability, in Roopnarine, J.L. (ed) Play and Educational Theory and Practice, Play and Culture Studies, Vol. 5. Westport, Connecticut: Praeger.
  • Sutton-Smith, B. (2017) Play for Life: Play theory and play as emotional survival, Rochester, NY.: The Strong Museum of Play.

Prof Helen Dodd

Webinar Slides for Download

Recommended Resources:

Play Wales – School Playtimes and Playgrounds

Play Scotland – Play Types Toolkit

Playboard – Talking Outdoor Play Seriously

Play England – Schools

Learning Through Landscapes – Resources

Ideas for Socially Distanced Activities with Children (written by @WinterImagines)

Full Webinar

Useful support services and resources

These resources and support services have been highlighted by our panelists and webinar participants


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