Beyond Fun: UNICEF’s supported Play Day for Children Showcases the Power of Play in Development

08 June 2024
Participants at the event. Behind them is a backdrop with the text "Play Day for Children"
UNICEF Viet Nam\Nguyen Duc Hieu

Ha Noi, Viet Nam – 8 June 2024 – In celebration of the upcoming International Day of Play, a vibrant Play Day for Children was held today at the beautiful Quoc Tu Giam Garden in Ha Noi. Co-organized by UNICEF, Think Playground and the Culture and Science Centre of Van Mieu, the inclusive event, designed for children of all backgrounds and abilities, aimed to emphasize the crucial role of play in children’s development.

“Today, we're joining a global movement pushed for by the Government of Viet Nam to celebrate something fundamental to every child's life: play! Why insist on an International Day of Play?  Because play is essential to a good education; it is essential to strong brain development; it is essential to the learning of ‘soft skills’ for the future world of work and it is critical to positive mental health. Creativity, innovation, problem-solving, working with others – are learnt most effectively through play.  For this reason, education systems in many countries, including here in Viet Nam have introduced participatory learning approaches that promote social and emotional learning.  Play is not just fun, it's life changing.” said Rana Flowers, UNICEF Representative.

UNICEF Viet Nam Representative Rana Flowers plays with children at the Play Day for Children, Temple of Literature on 8 June 2024.
UNICEF Viet Nam\Nguyen Duc Hieu
UNICEF Viet Nam Representative Rana Flowers plays with children at the Play Day for Children, Temple of Literature on 8 June 2024.

The right to play for children is enshrined in the Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC) and in Viet Nam’s Law on Children. Sadly, not all children have the opportunity to play freely. An estimated 160 million globally are forced into work; some parents don’t allow time for play; some children are excluded because the spaces were not designed with them in mind and many children lack safe spaces for playtime.

Governments, policymakers, educators, parents, and communities have a responsibility to recognize the educational, psycho-social and emotional benefits of play, to uphold and promote the right to play for all children. This includes providing safe and inclusive spaces for play, ensuring access to play materials and resources, and recognizing the value of play in children's overall well-being and development. The Play Day aimed to raise awareness about these critical issues and advocate for all children to have safe spaces to play. 

Ngô Tấn Lộc (left) and Trần Ngọc Minh (right), 5th grade students at Vinschool speak about the importance of play for children at the Play Day for Children, Temple of Literature on 8 June 2024.
UNICEF Viet Nam\Nguyen Duc Hieu
Ngô Tấn Lộc (left) and Trần Ngọc Minh (right), 5th grade students at Vinschool speak about the importance of play for children at the Play Day for Children, Temple of Literature on 8 June 2024.

Hundreds of children from diverse backgrounds, including those with disabilities and from vulnerable situations, participated with their families. With a focus on inclusivity, culture, and nature, the event provided a diverse mix of interactive games, competitions, and recreational activities. These activities are specifically designed to cater to all age groups and abilities, ensuring every child (and their parents) has the opportunity to participate and experience the joy and the benefits of play.

Children enjoy the swing at the Play Day for Children, Temple of Literature on 8 June 2024.
UNICEF Viet Nam\Nguyen Duc Hieu
Children enjoy the swing at the Play Day for Children, Temple of Literature on 8 June 2024.
Children play together at the Play Day for Children, Temple of Literature on 8 June 2024.
UNICEF Viet Nam\Nguyen Duc Hieu
Children play together at the Play Day for Children, Temple of Literature on 8 June 2024.

Adding a special touch to the event, 31 vibrant paintings were on display. These artworks were selected from a UNICEF-organized drawing contest for children aged 6-15 in Viet Nam to envision their ideal inclusive and eco-friendly playground. Over 8,000 submissions were received, showcasing the creativity and voices of children from diverse backgrounds, including ethnic minorities and those with disabilities.

A girl looks at a series of paintings.
UNICEF Viet Nam\Nguyen Duc Hieu
"Your Dream Playground" children art's exhibition at the Play Day for Children, Temple of Literature on 8 June 2024.

The Play Day for Children commemorates the inaugural International Day of Play, to be observed on June 11th every year. This global initiative highlights the significance and remarkable benefits of play in promoting a child's physical, mental, social, and emotional well-being.

Media contacts

Ms Nguyen Thi Thanh Huong
Advocacy and Communications Specialist
UNICEF Viet Nam
Tel: +84 (024) 38500225
Tel: +84 (0)904154678

About UNICEF

UNICEF promotes the rights and well-being of every child, in everything we do. Together with our partners, we work in 190 countries and territories to translate that commitment into practical action, focusing special effort on reaching the most vulnerable and excluded children, to the benefit of all children, everywhere. For more information about UNICEF and its work for children, visit https://www.unicef.org/vietnam

Follow UNICEF on Facebook, InstagramX, Youtube, LinkedIn and TikTok