Global School Play Day – Playful Learning!

 Play is The Best Way to Learn.

Global School Play Day Celebrates this!


February 1st, 2017


Global School Play Day

  The first ever Global School Play Day was on February 4th , 2015. When I found out it seemed like an omen. I was on the verge of leaving the toy industry after 25 years and moving into a brand new career as a play advocate. The date the organizers had chosen for this inaugural event was – my birthday!     Right away I talked to my kid’s wonderful elementary school principal and teachers who saw the value in the objective immediately. This day was planned to raise awareness of the importance of unstructured play to students, parents, and educators. Play is for ALL AGES so this event is for pre-school, home schools, elementary, middle, high schools and University too! Why not?  

What’s involved?

  1. Register your school or your support online! The first year there was an amazing 65,000 students participating. 2016 there were 175,000 registered. Anticipate that 2017 might go over 200,000 students from around the world in over 60 countries.
      2. Make a plan at the school with the teachers and administrators of what your day will look like:
  • When will you hold your Global School Play Day? If you can not do it on the scheduled day of February 1st, 2017 – choose a different day! Still register your participation.
  • What will the length be – 1 hour, the afternoon, or all day?
  • Where will the students play – classrooms, library, gymnasium, outside, or all off the above?
  • Will you be bringing in volunteer parents?
  • What supplies will you need – cardboard, tape, scissors, cutters, games, and/or toys?
  • Will you have kids bring in toys and games?
  • Who will be gathering the supplies?
  • Will there be an educational presentation at the beginning or end of the celebration? Who will be speaking to the benefits of play (feel free to check my availability).
  • Plan on discussion ahead of the event with parents and children of what to expect and how essential daily unstructured screen-free play time is.
  • Take photos
        3. Reflect Afterwards What happened when there was unfettered freedom to play without teacher instruction and direction?  When there is less organizing and without interference how does play change?   Older students could be asked to write about their observations while younger ones might create some art around their feelings. One of the most common comments I have heard afterwards is “This was the BEST DAY EVER!” which truly makes make this so worthwhile. What will you change or improve upon next year? How can the joyful natural learning of GSPD be integrated into everyday school plans? What ideas from other schools GSPD activities be integrated into next year’s celebration? What other schools can you get onboard with this important cause?     As an example of what the school I have been working with does on Global School Play Day:
  1. Teachers make a request from parents weeks before for volunteers to help out in the gym
  2. Kids are asked to bring in screen-free toys or games to have in the classrooms
  3. Cardboard, cardboard tubes, and other loose parts are gathered and stored until the big day by parents and teachers
  4. Teachers gather tapes and cutters for the cardboard creations
  5. On the day of the event there is a short assembly and presentation about Global School Play Day after lunch.
  6. Gym is filled with loose parts for kids to make their creative cardboard creations without instruction or interference
  7. Classrooms are open for kids to wander through exploring various opportunities to play with toys and games and art supplies. 
  8. Dress-up, puppets, building, Lego,  imaginative story telling,  are all encouraged and promotes the very important multi-age play.
  9. The library is stocked with board games with a volunteer to explain the games if necessary
  10. Kids are able to keep some of their cardboard creations. Clean up is quite quick by the kids as all the cardboard is recycled of course.
Let us know how your Global School Play Day turns out and how it has impacted the rest of your year?