Global School Play Day Date in the current year: February 7, 2024

Global School Play Day Global School Play Day is an annual campaign that aims to highlight the importance of unstructured play for children of all ages. It is observed on the first Wednesday in February.

According to Wikipedia, “play is an activity done for recreational pleasure and enjoyment”. Although it is most commonly associated with children, adults can play too. Moreover, most high-functioning animals, such as birds and mammals, may engage in play at any life stage.

Unstructured play, also known as free play, is a form of play where children have the freedom to decide what they want to play and how they will do it. Unstructured play is important for child development, especially in early childhood, because it boosts the cognitive development of children, promotes learning and socialization, and helps children become more adaptive to various situations.

Global School Play Day was launched in early 2015 by a group of six educators consisting of Scott and Tim Bedley, Bethany Chaffin, Misty Higgins, Eric Saibel, and Oliver Schinkten. They were concerned that children had less and less time for unstructured play due to adult interference and gadgets that kids spent their time glued to. These days, a lot of children don’t grow up playing as much as their parents used to, and this negatively impacts them in many ways.

The inaugural Global School Play Day took place on February 4, 2015. Almost 65,000 children from different countries participated in the event thanks to their educators who let them play to their heart’s content. The campaign has been growing ever since. In 2020, for example, over 600,000 children from more than 70 countries were given the gift of unstructured play time.

To celebrate Global School Play Day, educators from all over the world integrate play into their classes and help raise awareness about the necessity and benefits of play for child development at any age. There is only one condition: play must be unstructured. Educators shouldn’t organize anything for their students, tell them how to play or interfere with their play unless a child is in danger of getting hurt. However, unstructured does not mean unsupervised, so it is important to keep an eye on kids while letting them play as they want. 

If you’re not an educator, you can still join the celebration of Global School Play Day! You can reflect on the role of play in your life, play with your kids (remember that the holiday is all about unstructured play, so let your children take the lead and just go along with their play) or let them play as much as they want, donate toys that do not require batteries or electricity to your local school, kindergarten or orphanage, and, of course, raise awareness about the holiday on social media with the hashtag #GlobalSchoolPlayDay

Although Global School Play Day is primarily targeted at public and private schools and homeschooling families, it is not just for kids. A lot of adults like to play board games or solve puzzles; this is play too, and it is just as beneficial for adults as it is for children. So if you want to celebrate Global School Play Day with your college class, work, friends or family, go for it! Get off your phone and enjoy spending time with your peers playing games and enjoying each other’s company.

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Global School Play Day, international observances, global observances, free play, unstructured play