National Play Day

National Play Day 2020

Every year on the 1st August in National Play Day.  A day when organisations, children and families get out to play at hundreds of community events across the UK.  It’s a celebration of play and a campaign to raise awareness of the importance of play in children’s lives.

This year Play Day is different.  Normally the campaign co-ordinates hundreds of events, getting children together to play in communities everywhere.  Due to current government guidance about social gatherings and distancing because of the Covid crisis, they are asking people not to organise public Playday 2020 events.  Instead, the emphasis is on encouraging families to play at home.

Where did Playday come from?

Playday started in 1986.  A group of playworkers were concerned about cuts and closures of play centres in London. They decided to have a day for play to raise the profile of these issues.  By 1981 this was a national event and last year there were more than 850 events across the UK celebrating playday and highlighting the importance of play.  It’s now coordinated by Play England, in partnership with Play Wales, Play Scotland and PlayBoard Northern Ireland.

What can you do for playday?

Events can be as small as a group of friends, a school or a playgroup getting the children together for a day of play, imagination and creativity in a hall, woods or park, or as large as a massive organised festival or street party.

This year for Playday, there are two things you can do:

Play @ Home

Here are some ideas to get them off those screens to celebrate play day today:

  • dressing up and role-play – stimulates empathy, development of emotional literacy and language skills.  Whether you set up a vet surgery for the soft toys, a mud kitchen restaurant, a “cops and robbers” scenario or play schools.
  • card or board games
  • running around games – remember hide and seek, sardines, tag?
  • building – whether you are building a townscape with wooden blocks, turning cardboard boxes into a train, car, doll-house or city, using Lego or modelling, you will be developing imagination, creativity and story-making skills.
  • simple games – marbles, jacks, tic-tac-toe, battleships, hopscotch, bottle bowling.
  • outdoor games – football, french cricket, “Robin Hood”.

There are some amazing ideas on: 

The Genius of Play


Use social media as a power for good.  Raise awareness of the importance of play.  It’s fundamental for children’s health, development and happiness.  Post ideas of ways you can play.  Share images of you and your children enjoying play.  Use #playday2020.

I’d love to hear what you do to celebrate Playday today.  Please do comment below and share your play.