National Play Day - Raising awareness

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Health Assured team

24 July 2018

Playday is the national day for play, traditionally held on the first Wednesday in August. It is the biggest play sector event in the UK. The event is coordinated by Play England, in partnership with Play Wales, Play Scotland and Play Board Northern Ireland. Playday is a celebration of children’s right to play and the campaign’s aim is to highlight the importance of play in a child’s life.

Playday history

In 1986, rumours began circulating the UK regarding imminent cuts on school-based play centres and adventure playgrounds. As a response, a group of “Playworkers” called a meeting to find a solution, resulting in the inception of Playday. The initial aim of the group was to raise awareness of the benefits of play and alert people to the potential loss of services due to funding cuts.

Playday became a nationally recognised awareness day in 1991 and has become the biggest celebration of children’s play in the UK.

What happens on Playday?

To celebrate Playday, families are encouraged to get involved in the hundreds of community events hosted around the UK. These events can range from street parties, park festivals, woodland adventures, sports days and beach parties.

From back gardens to large parks, Playday events can be arranged in all sizes, celebrated by each community in a way that reflects them.

To find your nearest Playday event, click here.

Benefits of play

For children:

  • Improves mental and physical health
  • Boosts brain development
  • Provides opportunities for developing social skills and learning
  • Increases confidence through the development of new skills
  • Improves imagination, independence and creativity

For adults:

  • Maintains a strong bond with your child
  • Improves long-term family wellbeing
  • Relieves stress
  • Improves brain function
  • Stimulates the mind and boosts creativity

Playing tips and ideas

  • Playing with water – Whether you are using a paddling pool, bath or sink, introducing water into your child’s play time can be a fun activity. 
  • Dressing up – Coupled with old fabric and curtains, dig deep into the back of the wardrobe to find old hats, scarfs, gloves and jumpers and create some DIY fancy-dress costumes!
  • Drawing and painting – Stimulate your child’s mind and creativity by gathering crayons, pencils, felt tips and finger paints (depending on the child’s age) and spend the afternoon creating something unique together.
  • Walking – Encourage family days out and incorporate short walks together. Not only will it create great memories, but it’ll benefit the whole families physical wellbeing too.
  • Texture treasure hunt – For children with disabilities and visual impairments, organising a treasure hunt with toys can be a fun and inclusive experience. Place the toys around the room and search for them together by feeling your way around obstacles.

Raising awareness

Whether you have your own children, nieces and nephews, or if you work with children, there are numerous ways you can help raise awareness for Playday. Such as:

Organise a celebration

No matter the size, any individual can organise a Playday event. For assistance and top tips, use the Playday website to help in planning your event.

Spread the word

Keep yourself up to date with the latest news from Playday and help promote the campaign by following their official Facebook page. You can also download official Playday promotional flyers and posters for free here, to help you raise support for Playday in your area.



If you have any concerns regarding your mental or physical wellbeing and want to speak to a wellbeing expert, call our helpline on: 0800 030 5182.


Or alternatively, visit our portal to view advice articles, webinars and 4-week programmes all aimed at improving your wellbeing.

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