The importance of children’s play is recognised throughout the world. The United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child – which lists the rights of all children and teenagers – states (in Article 31) that every child has the right to play.
This convention applies to all children and teenagers, whoever they are, wherever they live and whatever they believe. So as parents and carers, it is important to make sure your child has the space, time and company of others to play. Playing is your child’s right wherever they are – at home, in childcare and at school.
Children benefit most when they are in charge of their play. When children choose what to play, who to play with, and how to organise their play, they have more fun. Children also develop and learn in all sorts of ways while playing:
Playing makes a crucial contribution to your child’s development – physical, mental, emotional and social.
When they play, children are likely to be physically active – running, jumping, dancing, climbing, digging, lifting, pushing and pulling.
When they play, children solve problems, learn new words and explore how things work.
When they play, children make friends, argue and make friends again, and learn to share.
When they play, children test things, make things, use their imagination, and express themselves.
When they play, children express themselves. They often feel happy, and they come to terms with different experiences. This helps children feel less stressed.