A child’s right to participate in play and informal recreation is enshrined in Article 31 of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child and was ratified by the UK in 1991. Under the convention, our government has a duty to protect and promote play opportunities for all children and young people.
In October 2015 the All Party Parliamentary Group on a Fit and Healthy Childhood published its findings. It stated:
“The All Party Group sees play as central to a child’s learning and healthy development, and research has shown that integrating time for play into the school day is essential to develop creativity, promote emotional intelligence and improve academic achievement. There is a worrying trend towards cutting down on break times at school and parents being reluctant to let their children stray away from the garden. It’s time to see play in all its infinite variety as an essential component of child health of mind and body – and also key to combating the scourge of obesity. Play as part of a whole child strategy should be a key priority for policy-makers at all levels.”