What is Children’s Play?
- Any behaviour or process initiated, controlled and structured by children themselves.
- Play is driven by intrinsic motivations and undertaken for its own sake, rather than as a means to an end.
- Play may take infinite forms but the key characteristics of play are fun, uncertainty, challenge, and flexibility.
Why Should Children Play?
As stated in the Article 31 of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child: “all children have 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 artistic life.”
The adverse effects of inadequate play on children’s growth are not only affecting Hong Kong, but also prevail around the globe. The worrisome phenomenon has aroused global concern. Hence, in the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development passed by the United Nations in 2015, most of the 17 goals stipulated are related to children’s play.
Hong Kong should not fall behind.
Benefits of Play
A lot of research conducted in the past pointed out the benefits and values of play, including physical development, sociability and communication, cognitive thinking, incubating creativity, expressing emotions, nurturing concentration ability, problem solving, self-understanding, taking challenges, building self-confidence etc. As explained in detail in the thesis issued by the International Play Association in 2014, play is crucial in the development and growth of children. The thesis titled “Power of Play” issued by the American Academy of Pediatrics in 2018 also restated the importance of play, and even advised doctors to use “play” as a new prescription to promote children’s health.