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This paper presents a series of reflective observations on the use of outdoor spaces in Melbourne, Australia, during the 2020 COVID-19 pandemic lockdown. With the closure of playgrounds and organized sports, the authors observed three themes emerging: changes in users and uses of parks and reserves; markers of children’s activities in public areas; and, children’s creation of huts, dens or “cubbies” as evidence of constructive and imaginative play.
"The Pandemic Play Project came about because of a moment in history shared by people around the globe, coupled with a recognition of the importance of play in children's lives. This project explored the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on the play lives of Australian children. Because of coronavirus restrictions, it was carried out almost entirely online, during one of the longest and strictest lockdowns in the world. In 2020, some Australian children spent more time in lockdown than at school with their friends.