Access to Play for Children in Situations of Crisis: Synthesis of Research in Six Countries

This is a booklet published by the International Play Association (IPA). It includes a glossary of play-related terms and acronyms – ‘Publisher’ link will download PDF of booklet.
Article 31 of the UNCRC (United Nations Committee on the Rights of Children) recognizes the right of the child to rest and leisure, to engage in play and
recreational activities appropriate to the age of the child and to participate freely in cultural life
and the arts. The Committee on the Rights of the Child has expressed a deep concern, shared by IPA (International Play Association), that in situations of conflict or disaster, the child’s right to play is often given lower priority than the provision of food, shelter and medicines. This is despite the fact that play is known to be crucial to children’s well-being, development, health and survival in these circumstances.
“Children have a spontaneous urge to play and participate in recreational activities and will seek out opportunities to do so in the most unfavourable environments. However, certain conditions
need to be assured, in accordance with children’s evolving capacities, if they are to realize their rights under Article 31 to the optimum extent.” (Committee on the Rights of the Child, 2013:10)
Across the situations of crisis in the six countries, children played. The nature of play was to a large extent shaped by: the age, gender and ability of the child; the nature of the space where they had access to play; the cultural and social context of the community; the time available for play and the level of parental permission for playing in certain places and at certain times. The freest play was witnessed in children under 14 years in the Burmese migrant communities in Thailand, amongst the squatters beside the railway track in Kolkata and the earthquake-hit villages of Kunchowk and Bhumlutar in Nepal.

This is a booklet published by the International Play Association (IPA). It includes a glossary of play-related terms and acronyms – ‘Publisher’ link will download PDF of booklet.
Article 31 of the UNCRC (United Nations Committee on the Rights of Children) recognizes the right of the child to rest and leisure, to engage in play and
recreational activities appropriate to the age of the child and to participate freely in cultural life
and the arts. The Committee on the Rights of the Child has expressed a deep concern, shared by IPA (International Play Association), that in situations of conflict or disaster, the child’s right to play is often given lower priority than the provision of food, shelter and medicines. This is despite the fact that play is known to be crucial to children’s well-being, development, health and survival in these circumstances.
“Children have a spontaneous urge to play and participate in recreational activities and will seek out opportunities to do so in the most unfavourable environments. However, certain conditions
need to be assured, in accordance with children’s evolving capacities, if they are to realize their rights under Article 31 to the optimum extent.” (Committee on the Rights of the Child, 2013:10)
Across the situations of crisis in the six countries, children played. The nature of play was to a large extent shaped by: the age, gender and ability of the child; the nature of the space where they had access to play; the cultural and social context of the community; the time available for play and the level of parental permission for playing in certain places and at certain times. The freest play was witnessed in children under 14 years in the Burmese migrant communities in Thailand, amongst the squatters beside the railway track in Kolkata and the earthquake-hit villages of Kunchowk and Bhumlutar in Nepal.

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