Alliance kicks off National Week of Play

The Early Years Alliance has today kicked off a National Week of Play, a sector-wide event which aims to put play and the freedom to play back at the heart of children’s learning and development.

The week will run from 21-27 June 2021 and aims to encourage and inspire early years professionals to ensure that learning through play is at the heart of their practice, and to support parents to discover and explore new play ideas for the home learning environment.

Everyone who signs up for Play Week will receive a free resource pack which includes:

  • A Play Week poster to display in settings 
  • A Play Week support badge to use on websites or social media 
  • Family Time Tips - quick and easy play activities to share with families 
  • A list of further resources and organisations to support play throughout the summer
  • Play Week event planning guidance and a checklist template
  • Guidance on writing a press release on National Week of Play activities for local media, plus a press release template
  • A letter template to get local MPs involved in the National Week of Play, as well as an MP briefing note

    The resource pack is available to download at

Starting from Monday 21 June, the Alliance will also be sharing daily tips, blogs and videos for practitioners and parents, all on the topic of play.  

Early years professionals will also be able to watch a recorded panel discussion with early years experts Helen Moylett, Professor Cathy Nutbrown, Nancy Stewart and Anni McTavish, talking about the importance of play.

Anyone who would like to show their support via social media can use the hashtag #PlayWeek2021, and those who would like to share their activities can use an online form to send their photos and stories to the Alliance at

Everyone taking part with also receive a special Alliance Play Week certificate, which the Alliance will share at the end of Play Week.

Commenting, Early Years Alliance chief executive Neil Leitch said: 

Today we are launching our National Week of Play, and a series of fantastic resources, as a timely reminder that play is at the heart of everything we in the early years do as educators.

The early years workforce is deeply concerned about the impact that lockdowns and social distancing measures have had on children’s development. Play should be central to young children’s lives, bringing with it so many benefits, and we must make it that way once again.

For a young child, March 2020 is a lifetime ago and will shape their experiences for a long time to come. As we think about how to support children’s recovery from this hugely challenging period, we must never forget that facilitating children’s learning through play – and helping parents and care givers to do the same – will be the key mechanism for doing that.



  • The Alliance’s National Week of Play will run from Monday 21 June to Sunday 27 June 2021. Early years settings, practitioners, volunteers and parents are all invited to take part. For full information and sign up to receive resources as they become available, visit the dedicated event web page: