Beyond Fun: Play Day for children showcases the power of play in development

Sunday, 09/06/2024 09:00
(CPV) - In celebration of the upcoming International Day of Play, a vibrant Play Day for Children was held on June 8th 2024 at the beautiful Quoc Tu Giam Garden in Ha Noi. Co-organized by UNICEF, Think Playground and the Culture and Science Centre of Van Mieu, the inclusive event, designed for children of all backgrounds and abilities, aimed to emphasize the crucial role of play in children’s development.

“Today, we're joining a global movement pushed for by the Government of Viet Nam to celebrate something fundamental to every child's life: play! Why insist on an International Day of Play?  Because play is essential to a good education; it is essential to strong brain development; it is essential to the learning of ‘soft skills’ for the future world of work and it is critical to positive mental health. Creativity, innovation, problem-solving, working with others – are learnt most effectively through play.  For this reason, education systems in many countries, including here in Viet Nam have introduced participatory learning approaches that promote social and emotional learning.  Play is not just fun, it's life changing.” said Rana Flowers, UNICEF Representative.


The right to play for children is enshrined in the Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC) and in Viet Nam’s Law on Children. Sadly, not all children have the opportunity to play freely. An estimated 160 million globally are forced into work; some parents don’t allow time for play; some children are excluded because the spaces were not designed with them in mind and many children lack safe spaces for playtime. 

Governments, policymakers, educators, parents, and communities have a responsibility to recognize the educational, psycho-social and emotional benefits of play, to uphold and promote the right to play for all children. This includes providing safe and inclusive spaces for play, ensuring access to play materials and resources, and recognizing the value of play in children's overall well-being and development. The Play Day aimed to raise awareness about these critical issues and advocate for all children to have safe spaces to play. 

Hundreds of children from diverse backgrounds, including those with disabilities and from vulnerable situations, participated with their families. With a focus on inclusivity, culture, and nature, the event provided a diverse mix of interactive games, competitions, and recreational activities. These activities are specifically designed to cater to all age groups and abilities, ensuring every child (and their parents) has the opportunity to participate and experience the joy and the benefits of play.

Adding a special touch to the event, 31 vibrant paintings were on display. These artworks were selected from a UNICEF-organized drawing contest for children aged 6-15 in Viet Nam to envision their ideal inclusive and eco-friendly playground. Over 8,000 submissions were received, showcasing the creativity and voices of children from diverse backgrounds, including ethnic minorities and those with disabilities.

Speaking at the event on behalf of the children participating in the drawing contest, Ngo Tan Loc and Tran Ngoc Minh from Ha Noi articulated their desire for more time and opportunities to play. They also expressed the need for greater investment in children's wellbeing, specifically by safeguarding their right to play. This would not only allow them to enjoy their playtime but also foster the development of their social skills through play.


Mr. Le Xuan Kieu, the Director of the Culture and Science Center at the Van Mieu – Quoc Tu Giam, commented, "This event is particularly special. It serves as a significant gift for children on the advent of the 2024 summer vacation, as well as an important landmark for us to honor and promote the importance of play in the comprehensive development of children"

Ms. Chu Kim Duc, Director of Think Playgrounds Social Enterprise, expressed her deep appreciation for the support and collaboration of government agencies, local authorities, partner organizations, and local communities in their endeavor to advocate for children's right to play. Furthermore, she added, "The International Day of Play is a crucial milestone for raising awareness about the children's right to play. It also stimulates further investment from the state, private sector, and social enterprises in the creation of safe, inclusive, and creative play spaces for all children."

The Play Day for Children commemorates the inaugural International Day of Play, to be observed on June 11th every year. This global initiative highlights the significance and remarkable benefits of play in promoting a child's physical, mental, social, and emotional well-being./.

Khac Kien