Right To Play and global partners successfully call on the United Nations to put play in the spotlight for two billion children worldwide

New York, New York, March 26, 2024 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) —

  • Right To Play and global partners have successfully called on the United Nations to adopt an annual International Day of Play to champion and protect children’s right to play. 
  • The first International Day of Play will be June 11, 2024.
  • Global research surveying more than 25,000 children across 36 countries reveals that as many as 73% of children don’t believe adults take play – and how it can help them learn – seriously*.Right To Play and global partners have successfully called on the United Nations to adopt an annual International Day of Play to champion and protect children’s right to play. 
  • For vulnerable children globally facing war, poverty and exploitation, play has a critical role in helping children to heal from trauma and get back to learning.

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Play is a fundamental right for every child. Yet, the importance of play is often forgotten. With only 30% of adults aware that play is a fundamental birth right adopted by the United Nations (UN) in 1989**, there is an urgent need to put play back on the agenda. 

To drive this ambition forward, a dedicated network of global organisations, play experts and, most importantly, children and youth themselves, have called on UN member states to support the resolution for an annual International Day of Play. Global development organisation Right To Play and other founding members of the movement are proud to announce that the UN General Assembly has adopted this international awareness day. 

“Play is powerful. Through play, children explore and understand the world, learn how to collaborate and empathize with others, build the confidence to claim their rights, and develop a lifelong love of learning,” says Susan McIsaac, President & CEO of Right To Play International.For close to 25 years, Right To Play has harnessed the power of play to protect, educate, and empower millions of children each year to rise above adversity. We are proud to be one of the founding members of the International Day of Play campaign, working with partners to give global legitimacy to what children have always known: that play is a transformative force in their lives, and that every child should have the right to play. 

Playing for impact  
Play is universal and taps into children’s natural enthusiasm and curiosity to learn. It teaches them to explore and wonder, connect ideas and experiences and gain a deeper understanding of the world. When children play, they develop essential life skills, which are fundamental to their own and society’s progress, and a lifelong love of learning.  
The need to support children’s right to play is more urgent now than ever, including for children who are experiencing crisis. New research shows that play is one of the most effective ways to support children’s psychosocial wellbeing, social and emotional development, and learning, as it allows them to express themselves and connect with others in ways that go well beyond what they can say with words.      

“Play is not just for fun. It’s an essential part of our human nature. It’s through play that we learn, grow, and develop skills that will shape our future,” says Anime, Child and Youth Advisory Group member France. 

This is why the International Day of Play network of organisations are committed to driving a global play movement for children everywhere for generations to come: The campaign was initiated by the LEGO Group and the LEGO Foundation in partnership with Right To Play, ADEA, Arup, BRAC, Change X, Concerned for Working Children, Eurochild, Hasbro, INGKA, International Play Association, IRC, KidZania, Mattel, NIKE, inc., PEDAL, Plan International, Save the Children and Sesame Workshop.  

The campaign draws on further global insights*** revealing that, on average, three in five (59%) children would like to play more than they do now, whilst four in five (79%) of children would like to play more with their parents or carer. Research also shows how eight in ten (78%) of children say grown-ups don’t always think playing is important and seven in ten (73%) don’t believe grown-ups take play – and how it can help them learn – seriously****. 

Play is never just play 
UNICEF estimates that 160 million children around the world are working instead of playing or learning*****. Yet, even in their darkest moments, children can find their way back to hope, health and happiness through play. Because play is never just play. Play is powerful. The power of play unlocks potential, instils confidence, saves lives, heals, promotes learning and creates a world of possibilities.  

The adoption of a UN resolution for a day centered around play takes children’s right one step further. It creates a unifying moment at the global, national, and local levels to elevate the importance of play as central to children’s learning and wellbeing – ensuring time to play, space to play and support for quality play is prioritized.  
 
Right To Play and the other coalition partners of International Day of Play are celebrating that this important movement has now been ratified, recognising the true power of play at the highest political level. We invite everyone to join us in celebrating the power of play on June 11 this year, and every year thereafter. 
Right To Play is a global organisation that protects, educates and empowers millions of children to rise above adversity through the power of play. Founded in 2000, the charity uses play-based learning and psychosocial support to help vulnerable children affected by war, disease, climate change, violence, poverty, inequality, prejudice and exploitation. Programming in 14 countries, Right To Play is the leading global development organisation focused on using the power of play to transform children’s lives. 

ENDS 
 

For more information, and to arrange interviews with Right To Play spokespeople, please contact Sara Jonsson by email at [email protected] or phone at 1-646-278-1593. 
 
About Right To Play 
Right To Play is a global organization that protects, educates, and empowers children to rise. We work with children in some of the most difficult places on earth, helping them to stay in school and graduate, to resist exploitation and overcome prejudice, to prevent disease and to heal from the trauma of war and displacement. 

For close to 25 years, we have delivered programs with impact in both development and humanitarian contexts. As pioneers in a unique approach to learning, both inside and outside of the classroom, we harness play, one of the most fundamental forces in a child’s life, to help children dismantle barriers and embrace opportunities. We are a leading global development organization focused exclusively on using the power of play to transform children’s lives. 

We reach millions of children each year in 14 countries around the world. By collaborating with teachers, governments, communities, and parents, we help children unlock their potential, and create better futures for themselves, their families, and their societies. For more information, please visit righttoplayusa.org 

About International Day of Play 
The International Day of Play was led by a Core Group of UN Member States:  Vietnam, El Salvador, Bulgaria, Jamaica, Kenya and Luxembourg. This core group worked to mobilise support for the resolution within their region. Find out more at www.internationaldayofplay.org 
 
Child & Youth Involvement: 
A Child & Youth Advisory Group, which includes members from Colombia, France, Germany, India, Sierra Leone, Tanzania, Uganda and Spain, has been formed as key consultants for this initiative. As part of their role they will develop a Child & Youth Call to Action to be shared with world leaders, inviting them to strengthen their commitment to put play on the agenda.  
 
Sources

  1. LEGO Play Well Study 2024
  2. LEGO Play Well Study 2024
  3. International Day of Play Survey 2023
  4. LEGO Play Well Study 2024
  5. Child Labour: Global estimates 2020, trends and the road forward, UNICEF 

Attachments

  • The need to support children’s right to play is more urgent now than ever, including for children who are experiencing crisis.
  • Play is universal and taps into children’s natural enthusiasm and curiosity to learn.

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