Previous campaigns

Here’s a taste of past Playday campaigns.

2022: All to play for – building play opportunities for all children.

The theme for 2022 highlighted that play is for everyone. Play happens everywhere, every day, and is the right of every child and young person. Playday encourages families, communities, and organisations large and small, to consider how they can build better opportunities for all children to play. Following the challenges children and young people have faced over the past two years due to the Covid-19 pandemic, play is more important than ever.

2021: Summer of Play

The Playday 2021 theme recognised the challenges children and young people faced over the previous year and the need to enjoy time for play free of restrictions, with their friends, having fun. Whilst Playday is the national day for play in the UK, in 2021 we encouraged families, carers, and communities to help children enjoy a Summer of Play.

2020: Everyday Freedoms Everyday Adventures

The Playday 2020 theme aimed to highlight the importance of giving children and teenagers the freedom to play and have everyday adventures – at home. As well as celebrating children’s right to play, the Playday 2020 campaign recognised the impact of government restrictions and physical distancing on children’s mental health and opportunities to play freely with friends and in their community.

2019: Play Builds Children

The Playday 2019 theme aimed to highlight the many ways in which play is beneficial to children and young people.

  • Play Builds Friendships – playing allows children to interact with others, develop relationships, deal with conflict, and learn respect and tolerance.
  • Play Builds Resilience – playing boosts children’s confidence, creativity, problem-solving skills and perseverance, enabling them to cope with stress and challenges throughout life.
  • Play Builds Health and Well-being – being active through play helps children physically and emotionally, contributing to their health and happiness.
  • Play Builds Communities – playing allows children to learn about the world around them, make connections, and develop a sense of identity and belonging.

2018: Celebrating 31 years of Playday – children’s right to play

Article 31 of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC) says that every child has the right to play.

The Playday 2018 theme aimed to:

  • Support communities to come together to celebrate children’s right to play
  • Raise awareness about children’s right to play
  • Promote the importance of playing for children’s happiness as well as physical and mental health and wellbeing.

2016: ‘Play matters… ‘ .  

As well promoting children’s right to play, the campaign highlighted that play matters for:

  • children’s mental health and wellbeing
  • creativity and learning
  • all ages and abilities
  • communities

2015: ‘Play more…’ encouraged children to play more at home, in the street, at school and in the community.  The campaign supported parents and communities to come together to celebrate children’s right to play.

2014: ‘Play is…’ campaign spread the word about why play is crucial for children’s health, wellbeing and happiness.

2013: ‘Playful places’ called on everyone to help make sure that the places where children play and hang out are great places to play.

2012: ‘Get out and play!’ showed why play is fundamental to children’s enjoyment of childhood, and vital to their health, well-being and development.

2011: Rather than have a specific theme, we focused on why play is important. We simply called on everyone to celebrate the national day for play in whatever way they could, to
help strengthen our call to protect children’s right to play. Over 520 local Playday events and activities took place involving thousands of children, young people and their families.

2010: ‘Our place…’ asked for children’s needs to be prioritised in all community spaces to support children to develop their own independence and freedom to play outdoors where they live. The campaign highlighted the benefits of being part of a community that embraces children’s play, and encouraged opportunities for communities to get to know each other, across the generations.