2023 Media Release

UK-wide campaign celebrates children’s right to play 

Play events are taking place across the UK today to mark Playday, the UK-wide campaign celebrating children’s right to play. Thousands of children and families will be enjoying a day of fun at local and regional events.

This year, the campaign theme Playing on a shoestring – making every day an adventure, emphasises that children can enjoy high-quality, developmentally beneficial play opportunities at little or no cost.

  • Play is essential at all ages and stages of childhood, and is particularly important during times of crisis.
  • Play helps children and young people make sense of the world around them, deal with challenges, and build resilience.
  • Play is fun, enabling children and young people to make friends, blow off steam, and cope with stress and anxiety.
  • Play is vital for children and young people’s health, happiness, and skills development including creativity, imagination, and sense of adventure.

We are calling on everyone – parents, grandparents, carers, childcare providers and support staff across the UK to help make this Playday, and every day, an adventure!

Mike Greenaway, Director of Play Wales said:

“We need to give children more opportunities to play – not just on Playday, but every day of the year. While it’s understandable that parents often feel pressured to pay for holidays and provide their children with every opportunity to have fun this summer, we need to remember that giving children opportunities to play doesn’t mean or require expensive games or toys. Often, it’s the freedom to explore at home and experience everyday adventures with friends and family that bring children the most joy and happiness. Join us today and throughout the school holidays and beyond to give children freedom to play.”

Alan Herron, Chief Executive Officer, PlayBoard NI said:

“Each year, Playday offers an opportunity to shine a spotlight on the importance of play in children and young people’s lives, and how essential it is for their health, well-being and development. We are delighted to see events organised by local councils and settings taking place across Northern Ireland and the rest of the UK, along with our own fully-booked event in Ormeau Park, Belfast, offering a range of fun, inclusive play opportunities for children and young people of all abilities.”

Marguerite Hunter Blair, Chief Executive Officer, Play Scotland said:

“Look around and you will see that children want to play all the time, it is how they learn, develop and have fun!  Play Scotland is proud to be supporting Playday 2023 – Playing on a shoestring, which highlights the benefits of everyday low-cost or no-cost play adventures that children can enjoy. Making more time to play and creating more opportunities for children to play is vital!

We are thrilled to be supporting Playday activities across Scotland which are being organised in parks, gardens and local streets. Let’s celebrate Playday 2023 together and remember children have a right to play, and it’s good for them!”

Anita Grant, Chair of Trustees, Play England said:

“Playday this year is as important as it ever has been. Children experienced unprecedented levels of restriction and reduction in their free and risky play activities during the pandemic and we are all seeing the results of that on published levels of mental health, happiness and playtime in children. Please see our website for our latest report (www.playengland.org.uk). 

Playday is the celebration of free – in all its aspects- play for ALL children and here at Play England we are so proud of all the organisations, local authorities and individuals who will be coming together on 2 August to play – playing on a shoestring.” 

– ENDS –


For more information, please contact:

  • Play Wales’s Communications Manager, Angharad Wyn Jones – 029 2048 6050 / 07376 427556.
  • PlayBoard Northern Ireland’s Senior Marketing & Communications Officer, Maria McBride – 028 9080 3380 / 074 2345 6190.
  • Play Scotland’s Chief Executive, Marguerite Hunter Blair – 077 9595 4856.
  • Richard Cocker, Play England – 079 3148 9801.


About Playday
Playday is the national day for play, traditionally held on the first Wednesday in August. As well as an annual celebration of children’s right to play, Playday is a campaign that highlights the importance of play in children’s lives. Playday is coordinated by Play England, Play Wales, Play Scotland and PlayBoard Northern Ireland. www.playday.org.uk

About Play Wales
Play Wales is the national charity for children’s play in Wales. We provide advice, support and guidance for all those in Wales who have a concern or responsibility for any environment where children and young people might play. Play Wales upholds children’s right to play. All children are entitled to quality play provision within their communities and we work strategically to achieve this goal on their behalf. www.playwales.org.uk

About PlayBoard Northern Ireland
PlayBoard is the lead organisation for the development and promotion of children and young people’s play in Northern Ireland. Play is fundamental to a healthy, happy childhood and PlayBoard is committed to supporting children and young people’s play through a combination of service delivery and development, campaigning and lobbying, research, evaluation and awareness raising, and promoting best practice in Play and Playwork.

About Play Scotland
Play Scotland is the lead organisation for the development and promotion of children and young people’s play in Scotland. We work strategically to make the child’s right to play a reality so that all children can reach their full potential and be able to confidently inhabit an inclusive public realm, as well as help shape child friendly communities. www.playscotland.org

About Play England
Play England campaigns for all children to have the freedom and space to play throughout childhood. As the national organisation for children’s play, Play England works with all those who have an impact on children’s lives to support and champion play as an essential part of childhood. www.playengland.org.uk

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