March 2024

Celebrating UN adoption of an International Day of Play

UN signals importance of play by adopting official International Day of Play

  • Global partners have successfully called on the United Nations to adopt an International Day of Play to champion and protect children’s right to play.
  • The International Day of Play will be June 11th, with the inaugural celebration to take place in 2024.
  • Global research surveying more than 25,000 children across 36 countries reveals that as many as 73% of children don’t believe adults take play – and how it can help them learn – seriously1.


Billund, Denmark, March 26th 2024: Play is a fundamental right for every child. Yet, the importance of play in helping children develop life-long skills is often forgotten. With only 30% of adults aware that play is a fundamental birth right adopted by the United Nations (UN) in 19892 there is an urgent need to put play back on the agenda.

To drive this ambition forward, a dedicated network of global organisations, play experts and, most importantly, children and youth themselves, have called on UN member states to support the resolution for an International Day of Play. The LEGO Group, the LEGO Foundation and other founding members of the movement are proud to announce that the UN General Assembly has adopted this international awareness day.

Niels B. Christiansen, CEO of the LEGO Group said about the adoption: “We believe that all children should benefit from the power of play. For more than 90 years we have championed children's right to play, as we know that it can change lives. It strengthens family bonds and helps children develop essential skills and reach their full potential. We have hosted our own World Play Day the past two years to celebrate the importance of play. Now, we are excited to turn it into a global movement to engage and impact even more children together with our partners. The adoption of an International Day of Play by the UN is a true testament to the power of play and the need to collectively champion and protect all children's right to play.”

Sidsel Marie Kristensen, CEO of the LEGO Foundation added: “At the LEGO Foundation, our aspiration is for children to become creative, lifelong learners who thrive in a constantly changing world. We know that play fuels curiosity, sparks creativity, unlocks essential skills, boosts wellbeing and inspires a lifelong journey of learning. Play is the superpower of children, but not all children experience the benefits of learning through play. The challenge for all of us is to make play a part of every child's reality. An International Day of Play is an important recognition of a child’s right to play. Let's work together to ensure every child has the space and time to play and be the superheroes they are.”

David Miliband, President and CEO, International Rescue Committee also said: “Play transcends culture, geography, and language. It is not only a fundamental right for children around the world, but crucial to their learning and wellbeing. Learning through play is proven to help build essential life skills, improve mental health and resilience, and encourage a love of learning in children. Through an International Day of Play, the IRC and the world celebrate play and solidify that it matters as a vital sign of childhood development.”

Susan McIsaac, President & CEO, Right To Play International added: “Play is powerful. Through play, children explore and understand the world, learn how to collaborate and empathize with others, build the confidence to claim their rights, and develop a lifelong love of learning. For close to 25 years, Right To Play has been harnessing the power of play to protect, educate, and empower millions of children each year. We are proud to be one of the founding members of the International Day of Play campaign, working with partners to give global legitimacy to what children have always known: that play is a transformative force in their lives, and that every child should have the right to play.”

The world needs more play

Play is universal and taps into children’s natural enthusiasm and curiosity to learn. It teaches them to explore and wonder, connect ideas and experiences and gain a deeper understanding of the world. When children play, they develop essential life skills, which are fundamental to their own and society’s progress.

Amine, Child and Youth Advisory Group member France, said: “Play is not just for fun. It’s an essential part of our human nature. It’s through play that we learn, grow, and develop skills that will shape our future.”

This is why the International Day of Play network of organisations are committed to driving a global play movement for children everywhere for generations to come. The work was initiated by the LEGO Group and the LEGO Foundation in partnership with ADEA, Arup, BRAC, Change X, The Concerned for Working Children, Eurochild, Hasbro, INGKA, International Play Association, IRC, KidZania, Mattel, NIKE inc., PEDAL, Plan International, Right To Play International, Save the Children and Sesame Workshop.

The movement draws on further global insights3 revealing that, on average, three in five (59%) children would like to play more than they do now, whilst four in five (79%) of children would like to play more with their parents or carer. Research also shows that eight in ten (78%) of children say grown-ups don't always think playing is important and seven in ten (73%) don’t believe grown-ups take play – and how it can help them learn – seriously4.

Play is never just play

UNICEF estimates that 160 million children around the world are working instead of playing or learning5. Yet, even in their darkest moments, children can find their way back to hope, health and happiness through play. Because play is never just play. Play is powerful. The power of play unlocks potential, instils confidence, saves lives, heals, and creates a world of possibilities.

The adoption of a UN resolution for a day centered around play, takes children’s right one step further. It creates a unifying moment at the global, national, and local levels to elevate the importance of play as central to children’s learning and wellbeing – ensuring time to play, space to play and support for quality play is prioritised.

The coalition of partners of International Day of Play is celebrating that this important movement has now been ratified, recognising the true power of play at the highest political level. We invite everyone to join us in celebrating the power of play on June 11th this year, and every year thereafter.


1.           LEGO Play Well Study 2024

2.           LEGO Play Well Study 2024

3.           International Day of Play Survey 2023

4.           LEGO Play Well Study 2024

5.           Child labour rises to 160 million – first increase in two decades. (2021).


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