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‘Two hours outside a day’: Brussels and Flanders celebrate Outdoor Play Day
Brussels and Flanders celebrated Outdoor Play Day (Buitenspeeldag) on Wednesday with an array of activities, from making a custom skateboard to mass playdates at local parks.
Children play outside less and less each year, according to a Great Outdoor Play Survey by the Flemish organisation Kind en Gezin a few years ago.
In 2019, before the pandemic, 37% fewer children played in the streets, squares and parks than in 2008.
Every Brussels child should play outside for two hours every day, according to Brussels minister Benjamin Dalle (CD&V), adding that “one Outdoor Play Day is therefore not enough”.
The minister announced the ‘More Outside’ action plan on the occasion of Outdoor Play Day. This initiative aims to get children playing outside for at least two hours every day.
Dalle noted that more research is needed into children and young people's outdoor play, and results from research with young people in three Brussels neighbourhoods will follow later this year.
In the meantime, the annual Outdoor Play Day activities hope to inspire children to take advantage of available play space outside in their municipalities, from playgrounds and squares to parks.
Many children's TV channels (Nickelodeon, Nick Jr., Ketnet, Ketnet Jr., Studio 100 TV, etc) will also turn off their programmes between 13.00 and 17.00, encouraging children to go outside to play instead.
There are more than 20 locations in Brussels where children can come and romp around as part of the celebration of play.
Outdoor Play Day is an initiative of the Flemish government, Kind & Samenleving, Bataljong vzw, the Netwerk Lokaal Sportbeleid, Goe Gespeeld! and some TV channels for children. An overview of Brussels activities can be found on the website jonginbrussel.be.
Similar activities are taking place in Flanders, as well. A full list can be found (in Dutch) here.