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Play Day for Children in Hanoi underlines power of play in child development

Play Day for Children in Hanoi underlines power of play in child development

Sunday, June 09, 2024, 15:41 GMT+7
Play Day for Children in Hanoi underlines power of play in child development
Children play together at the Play Day for Children held at the Temple of Literature in Hanoi on June 8 2024. Photo: UNICEF Vietnam

A vibrant Play Day for Children took place at the Temple of Literature in Hanoi on Saturday in celebration of the upcoming International Day of Play, highlighting the crucial role of play in children’s development.

Co-organized by UNICEF, Think Playground, and the Culture and Science Center of the Temple of Literature, the event was attended by hundreds of children from diverse backgrounds, including those with disabilities and from vulnerable situations, as well as 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 were specifically designed to cater to all age groups and abilities, ensuring every child, along with their parents, had the opportunity to participate and experience the joy and benefits of play.

Participants pose for a group photo at the Play Day for Children held at the Temple of Literature in Hanoi on June 8, 2024. Photo: UNICEF Vietnam

Participants pose for a group photo at the Play Day for Children held at the Temple of Literature in Hanoi on June 8, 2024. Photo: UNICEF Vietnam

Besides, 31 vibrant paintings were on display, adding a special touch to the event.

These artworks were selected from a UNICEF-organized drawing contest for children aged 6-15 in Vietnam 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.

UNICEF Viet Nam Representative Rana Flowers plays with children at the Play Day for Children held at the Temple of Literature in Hanoi on June 8, 2024. Photo: UNICEF Vietnam

UNICEF Vietnam representative Rana Flowers plays with children at the Play Day for Children held at the Temple of Literature in Hanoi on June 8, 2024. Photo: UNICEF Vietnam

“Today, we're joining a global movement pushed by the Vietnamese government to celebrate something fundamental to every child's life: play!” said UNICEF representative in Vietnam Rana Flowers.

She elaborated that play is essential for a good education, strong brain development, learning 'soft skills' for the future workforce, and is critical for positive mental health.

Creativity, innovation, problem-solving, working with others are learnt most effectively through play, she continued.

Ngo Tan Loc (L) and Tran Ngoc Minh (R), 5th grade students at Vinschool, speak about the importance of play for children at the Play Day for Children held at the Temple of Literature in Hanoi on June 8, 2024. Photo: UNICEF Vietnam

Ngo Tan Loc (L) and Tran Ngoc Minh (R), 5th-grade students at Vinschool, speak about the importance of play for children at the Play Day for Children held at the Temple of Literature in Hanoi on June 8, 2024. Photo: UNICEF Vietnam

“For this reason, education systems in many countries, including Vietnam, have introduced participatory learning approaches that promote social and emotional learning. Play is not just fun, it's life-changing,” Flowers added. 

The right to play for children is enshrined in the Convention on the Rights of the Child and in Vietnam’s Law on Children. 

However, not all children have the opportunity to play freely. 

An estimated 160 million globally are forced into work; some parents do not 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.

Ngo Tan Loc and Tran Ngoc Minh from Hanoi, who were among the children participating in the drawing contest at the Play Day, articulated their desire for more time and opportunities to play. 

Both Loc and Minh also expressed the need for greater investment in children's well-being, specifically by safeguarding their right to play. 

This would not only allow them to enjoy their playtime but also foster the development of their social skills through play.

'Your Dream Playground' children art's exhibition at the Play Day for Children held at the Temple of Literature in Hanoi on June 8, 2024. Photo: UNICEF Vietnam

'Your Dream Playground' children art's exhibition at the Play Day for Children held at the Temple of Literature in Hanoi on June 8, 2024. Photo: UNICEF Vietnam

According to Le Xuan Kieu, director of the Culture and Science Center, this event served as a significant gift for children on the advent of the 2024 summer vacation.

Chu Kim Duc, director of Think Playgrounds Social Enterprise, expressed her deep appreciation for the support and collaboration of government agencies, local authorities, partner organizations, and local communities in their endeavor to advocate for children's right to play. 

Duc added that the International Day of Play is a crucial milestone for raising awareness about the children's right to play. 

It also stimulates further investment from the state, private sector, and social enterprises in the creation of safe, inclusive, and creative play spaces for all children.

The Play Day for Children commemorates the inaugural International Day of Play, to be observed on June 11 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.

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