National Children's Day UK 2015 will be all about 'The Science and Magic of Play' and we are now actively looking for partners and sponsors.
Play is so important to optimal child development that it has been recognised by the United Nations High Commission for Human Rights as a right of every child (Article 31). It is vital for the enjoyment of childhood as well as children's physical, social, cognitive, emotional and spiritual development.
See what UNICEF have to say about play.
The 2004 review Getting Serious About Play, on which the Big Lottery Fund Play Programme was based, states that: “Play means what children and young people do when they follow their own ideas and interests, in their own way and for their own reasons.” It is therefore all about children's natural creativity and being able to do things without needing to focus on specific, pre-determined outcomes."
Over the last few decades a variety of factors have significantly reduced children's ability to play, including changes in family structure, a more hurried lifestyle, a more risk-averse society and an increased focus on academic attainment.
SCM Advisor Dr Peter Gray on the decline of play and the rise in mental disorders
Playing is central to children’s physical, psychological and social well-being. Whilst playing, children can experience real emotions, create their own uncertainty, experience the unexpected, respond to new situations and adapt to a wide variety of situations. Play enables children to form friendships and attachments to adults
and to places, allowing for the development of familiarity and intimacy with both.
It can provide opportunities for independent learning and building confidence, resilience, self-esteem and self-efficacy. Whilst play can bring families closer
together, strengthening parent–child relationships, playing away from adult
supervision is equally important, allowing children to acquire independent
mobility, explore the world on their own terms and create their own identities.
A World without Play - A Literature Review, Play England, 2012