April 2, 2024

United Nations Designates June 11 as International Day of Play

The United Nations General Assembly has adopted a resolution to create a new International Day of Play. The day will take place on June 11 every year, beginning in 2024.

A Global Effort

The adoption of the resolution on March 25 follows a global effort led by a coalition of organizations – including Right to Play, a nonprofit with a mission to use play to empower children to rise above adversity. 

The coalition’s goal was to spotlight the importance of play in children’s lives, learning, and development. It also aimed to call attention to the need to protect and support children’s right to play.

Global research surveying more than 25,000 children across 36 countries revealed that as many as 73% of children don’t believe adults take the benefits of play seriously, according to Right to Play

“Play is powerful,” said Susan McIsaac, President and CEO of Right to Play International. “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.”

Adam James Zahren, Program Director of Playful Pittsburgh,  applauded the UN resolution.

“I think the designation of an official International Play Day is essential because it showcases the necessity of playing for children and adults alike,” Zahren said. “Play is important for physical, emotional, and social development. It reduces stress and builds relationships. I’m thrilled to hear this news.”

Convention on the Rights of the Child

This is not the first time that the United Nations has recognized the importance of play. In 1989, the UN approved the Convention on the Rights of the Child. This international treaty set benchmarks against which a nation’s treatment of its children could be measured. One of its tenets was that “every child has the right to rest and leisure, to engage in play and recreational activities appropriate to the age of the child, and to participate freely in cultural life and the arts.”

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