UN Signals Importance of Play by Adopting Official International Day of Play

Play it Forward, LEGO UN

Play is a fundamental right for every child. Yet, the importance of play in helping children develop life-long skills is often forgotten. With only 30% of adults aware that play is a fundamental birth right adopted by the United Nations (UN) in 1989, there is an urgent need to put play back on the agenda. To drive this ambition forward, a dedicated network of global organizations, play experts and, most importantly, children & youth themselves, have called on UN member states to support the resolution for an International Day of Play. Mattel, Inc (NASDAQ: MAT) together with other founding members of the movement are proud to announce that the UN General Assembly has adopted this international awareness day.


“The Mattel Children’s Foundation proudly joins our global partners in championing the UN’s adoption of the International Day of Play,” said Nancy Molenda, Executive Director of the Mattel Children’s Foundation. “This initiative reaffirms our belief that play is a transformative force for positive change in children’s lives, and Mattel is committed to our philanthropic initiatives to empower generations to reach their full potential and ensure all children have opportunities to play and thrive.”


The world needs more play

Play is universal and taps into children’s natural enthusiasm and curiosity to learn. It teaches them to explore and wonder, connect ideas and experiences, and gain a deeper understanding of the world. When children play, they develop essential life skills, which are fundamental to their own and society’s progress.


Amine, Child and Youth Advisory Group member, France, said: “Play is not just for fun. It’s an essential part of our human nature. It’s through play that we learn, grow, and develop skills that will shape our future.”


This is why the International Day of Play network of organizations are committed to driving a global play movement for children everywhere for generations to come. The work was initiated by the LEGO Group and the LEGO Foundation in partnership with Mattel, ADEA, Arup, BRAC, Change X, Concerned for Working Children, Eurochild, Hasbro, INGKA, International Play Association, IRC, KidZania, NIKE, Inc., PEDAL, Plan International, Right To Play International, Save the Children, and Sesame Workshop.


Niels B. Christiansen, CEO of the LEGO Group said about the adoption: “We believe that all children should benefit from the power of play. For more than 90 years we have championed children’s right to play, as we know that it can change lives. It strengthens family bonds and helps children develop essential skills and reach their full potential. We have hosted our own World Play Day the past two years to celebrate the importance of play. Now, we are excited to turn it into a global movement to engage and impact even more children together with our partners. The adoption of an International Day of Play by the UN is a true testament to the power of play and the need to collectively champion and protect all children’s right to play.”


Sidsel Marie Kristensen, CEO of the LEGO Foundation added: “At the LEGO Foundation, our aspiration is for children to become creative, lifelong learners who thrive in a constantly changing world. We know that play fuels curiosity, sparks creativity, unlocks essential skills, boosts well-being and inspires a lifelong journey of learning. Play is the superpower of children, but not all children experience the benefits of learning through play. The challenge for all of us is to make play a part of every child’s reality. An International Day of Play is an important recognition of a child’s right to play. Let’s work together to ensure every child has the space and time to play and be the superheroes they are.”


Play is never just play


UNICEF estimates that 160 million children around the world are working instead of playing or learning. Yet, even in their darkest moments, children can find their way back to hope, health and happiness through play. Because play is never just play. Play is powerful. The power of play unlocks potential, instils confidence, saves lives, heals and creates a world of possibilities.


The adoption of a UN resolution for a day centered around play, takes children’s right one step further. It creates a unifying moment at the local, national, and global levels to elevate the importance of play as central to children’s learning and wellbeing – ensuring time to play, space to play, and support for quality play is prioritized.


The coalition of partners of International Day of Play is celebrating that this important movement has now been ratified, recognizing the true power of play at the highest political level. We invite everyone to join us in celebrating the power of play on June 11th this year, and every year thereafter.