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International Day of Play 2024 Observed on 11 June

On June 11, 2024, the world will commemorate the inaugural International Day of Play, a momentous occasion dedicated to preserving, promoting, and prioritizing the act of play for all individuals, especially children.

The Essence of Play

Play is more than mere recreation; it is a universal language that transcends national, cultural, and socio-economic boundaries. This shared passion fosters a sense of community and national pride, while also nurturing resilience, creativity, and innovation in individuals.

For children, in particular, play is crucial for building relationships, improving emotional control, overcoming trauma, and developing problem-solving skills. It helps them acquire the cognitive, physical, creative, social, and emotional abilities they need to thrive in our rapidly changing world.

Play as a Fundamental Right

Restricting opportunities for play directly impedes a child’s well-being and development. The United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child has enshrined play as a fundamental right of every child under Article 31.

In educational settings, play-based learning has been recognized as an effective approach to engage students actively in the learning process. It makes learning more enjoyable and relevant, thereby enhancing motivation and retention of information.

Moreover, play is considered to have a positive impact on promoting tolerance, resilience, and facilitating social inclusion, conflict prevention, and peacebuilding.

A Unifying Moment

The International Day of Play creates a unifying moment at global, national, and local levels to elevate the importance of play. It signals a call for policies, training, and funding to integrate play into education and community settings worldwide.

Why Play Matters

  • Children learn best through play, as it creates powerful learning opportunities across all areas of development – intellectual, social, emotional, and physical.
  • Through play, children learn to forge connections with others, build leadership skills, develop resilience, navigate relationships and social challenges, and conquer their fears.
  • Play provides a platform for children to express and develop imagination and creativity, which are key skills critical for our technology-driven and innovative world.
  • Playful interactions contribute to the well-being and positive mental health of parents, caregivers, and children.
  • In humanitarian crises, play offers children safety, respite from adverse experiences, and a way to process their experiences with the world.
  • When children are displaced by war, conflict, and violence, access to nurturing relationships with parents/caregivers and peers through play serves as a critical buffer from the effects of trauma.

To encourage playful interactions between parents/caregivers and children, governments and other stakeholders need to create an enabling environment that promotes and celebrates the joy of play.

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