The child’s right to play is recognised in article 31of the UNCRC. It is often described as the article that most wholly represents the child’s right to be a child. The importance of play in children’s day to day lives for their health and well-being is increasingly recognised in a range of policies affecting children. Despite this article 31 is also described as one of the forgotten articles of the convention.
The need for better recognition of the child’s right to play brought the International Play Association (Scotland) and the Children’s Parliament together with children across Scotland to talk about what play means to them and how their experience of play could be better. We listened to children’s voices on the meaning and importance of play and wish to share these voices. This report shares their views with local and national decision makers in Scotland.
The Children’s Parliament designed and facilitated 36 workshops in 28 locations across Scotland; visiting 14 of Scotland’s 32 local authorities and engaging with 379 children aged between 2 and 13 years of age.
Participating children came from a range of backgrounds and were of different abilities. They live in urban, semi-rural and rural/island communities.
Workshops took place in after school projects, on the street, and in nursery and primary schools. Children played games, drew pictures and made models as they discussed play. You will see some of their artwork throughout this report.
We have structured the report so that children’s views on who they play with, what they play, where they play, when they play and why it is important to them are presented, using quotes from children to provide insight. As well as reporting the children’s views the report also offers points to consider for adults; these pointers support parents, carers, adults in the community and professionals to consider what they can do to help Scotland successfully implement article 31.
I have fish but I’m not allowed to play with them, my mum tells me to leave them alone.