Play is every child’s right

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.

Playing is good for children

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:
Climbing helps children build upper body strength, coordination and balance. It helps develop confidence and self-esteem, too.

  • Joking, chatting and making up games with other children helps them develop their communication skills.
  • Running and playing chase helps children get fitter.
  • Walking or running along the tops of walls helps children develop concentration and balance.
  • Jumping off steps, riding a bike, or skipping with a rope helps children develop coordination and confidence in what their bodies can do.
  • Playing make believe develops children’s imagination and creativity. It can help them make sense of difficult things in their life, too.
  • Playing gives children the chance to let off steam and have fun. This is important for them, but it also reduces stress on you – their parents, carers and families.