The Right to Play


Lilian Atieno Okal

Article 31 of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of a Child states the right of a child to rest and leisure and to engage in play and recreational activities appropriate to the age of the child.

Play remains the most violated of all the rights of a child. While play is fun, it is also voluntary, meaning that they can opt out of it at will. 

When adults use play as a reward of “work done”, it ceases to be pleasurable since it is associated with the challenges of the work given. Play also ceases to be voluntary when the child chooses to avoid these challenges in exchange for play.

Each right comes with a responsibility. How about attaching play right to related responsibilities? This way, these responsibilities become part of play and they are taken with much ease. These responsibilities may be care for the environment, cleaning up after the activity or even self-grooming at the end of it all. Responsibilities can be added with mastery of skills and as the child grows older.

By Lilian Atieno Okal – OMEP Kenya

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