'Play is a vital part of a child’s upbringing and development which benefits their health, happiness and wellbeing. I am very proud the Welsh Government took the lead on this issue, making Wales the first nation in the UK to legislate on play.'
Lesley Griffiths AM, former Minister for Communities and Tackling Poverty
All children have the right to play as enshrined in the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child. This is recognised both by the UK Government, and by the Welsh Government.
Article 31 of the Convention says:
Every child has the right to rest and leisure, to engage in play and recreational activities appropriate to the age of the child and to participate freely in cultural life and the arts.
The Welsh Government upholds children's right to play in its Play Policy. This is much more detailed than the UN Convention, providing definitions, and emphasising the need for the provision of play environments that compensate for the loss of spaces and opportunities to play that children and young people experience in today's world.
The Children's Commissioner's Office in Wales, which monitors and champions children and young people's rights, has stated that time and space to play is a matter of entitlement.
They say, 'Through all aspects of our work and particularly through our direct work with children and young people, we know that the provision of quality places, spaces and time for play is one of their key priorities.'
The International Play Association (IPA) is an international organisation promoting the child's right to play.
The Children's Rights in Wales website is designed to help local practitioners, policy makers, managers and strategists develop their understanding of children's rights and how to adopt a children's rights perspective to their work.
Rights Here, Right Now: Are children’s rights a reality in Wales? is a Wales UNCRC Monitoring Group interim perspective on the extent to which law, policy and practice in Wales has progressed since the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child released its UK Concluding Observations 2008 to the UK Government.
Right to play workshop
To raise children’s awareness of their right to play, Play Wales has developed a Right to Play workshop pack. It includes a workshop plan, materials and resources to support the local promotion, participation and advocacy of the Right to Play.
The workshop is designed for playworkers, participation workers, youth workers and school staff to facilitate in schools and other structured settings.