Got an idea for a holiday? Send it to us

Submit Now

Global School Play Day – February 1, 2023

Global School Play Day is observed annually every first Wednesday in February and this year it will be held on February 1. This holiday promotes the importance of unstructured, regular play for children. The campaign was started by a group of six educators in 2015. They realized that playtime for children was decreasing both at home and in school, leading to negative consequences for the children’s development. They immediately took action and initiated Global School Play Day, with over 65,000 children participating in its very first year.

History of Global School Play Day

Global School Play Day was created in 2015 by a group of six educators: Scott Bedley, Tim Bedley, Eric Saibel, Misty Higgins, Oliver Schinkten, and Bethany Chaffin. These educators were concerned that children were getting less and less time to play due to technology and adult interference. According to a Global School Play Day press release, the organization stated — “Schools are eliminating recess. Teachers are assigning more and more homework. Parents schedule every waking minute for their kids. Young children have become addicted to their devices — skyrocketing anxiety and stress.”

As a result of this, the group was compelled to take action, especially after listening to a TEDx talk by Dr. Peter Gray. Dr. Gray argued that children are losing much more than playtime. This inspired the educators to initiate this play day campaign. During its first observance on February 4, 2015, over 65,000 children participated, and this was after only four weeks of social media promotion. In 2020, during the sixth anniversary of the event, this number increased exponentially, with over almost 600,000 children participating across 75 countries. The organization believes the campaign has been so successful because initially, kids had started forgetting how to play and parents and educators are beginning to see the positive impacts.

Global School Play Day is for everyone, from public schools to private schools and homeschool families. Recently, businesses also started to join the movement. The organization believes that unstructured child play is part of child development and this is why they call on more educators and schools to participate in the campaign.

Global School Play Day timeline

The Holiday is Created

Global School Play Day is created by a group of six educators and 65,000 children participate.

The Participants Double

Over 177,000 students take part in Global School Play Day.

The Numbers Increase

More than 283,000 children participate in Global School Play Day.

The Global Reach Increases

A record of over 385,000 students from 58 nations participates in Global School Play Day.

The Activity Spreads to More Countries

About 563,283 students from 75 nations take part in Global School Play Day.

Global School Play Day FAQs

How does play affect a child's emotional development?

Children learn self-regulation while playing as they pay attention during feelings such as anticipation or frustration.

How does play promote self-esteem?

Free play encourages children to develop skills that build self-confidence, such as conflict resolution and imaginative dramatic play.

What are the cognitive benefits of play?

Play promotes healthy development and critical thinking skills.

Global School Play Day Activities

  1. Organize a play day

    As an educator, integrate play day into your class or school calendar. Play day is not restricted to lower-level classes but can also be done by high school and college students.

  2. Stay away from gadgets

    The whole point of Global School Play Day is to encourage physical play without the use of devices, such as mobile phones, tablets, and laptops. So get outside and enjoy physical activity and one-on-one interaction with others.

  3. Use the hashtag

    There is always an official hashtag released for Global School Play Day every year. Find it and make a social media post about the importance of playtime for children, using the hashtag.

5 Interesting Facts About Playtime

  1. Children will always want to play

    Children will always play regardless of where they are, whether in war zones or suburbs.

  2. The rise in hyperactivity disorder

    Jaak Panksepp, a neuroscientist from Washington State University, believes that the recent rise of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder could be a result of the decline in classroom playtime.

  3. Huge hours spent on virtual games

    When it comes to video games, teens can go up to 10,000 hours of playing time.

  4. Child’s Play is Science

    According to UC Berkeley psychologist Alison Gopnik, children play using probabilistic models to determine how things work.

  5. Play aids brain development

    Play activities have been found to stimulate the development of the cerebellum.

Why We Love Global School Play Day

  1. It promotes proper child development

    The importance of play for children can’t be overemphasized. When away from phones and tablets, children learn social skills by interacting with their friends.

  2. It is a fun-filled day

    Children are given a chance to get away from the routine of a normal school day. Educators are encouraged to toss their schedules out the window and allow children to play without interference. This creates a fun, unrestricted play day for the kids.

  3. It improves creativity and imagination

    Play improves children’s creativity and imagination. Interacting with the world around them helps them to develop critical thinking and problem-solving skills.

Global School Play Day dates

2022February 2Wednesday
2023February 1Wednesday
2024February 7Wednesday
2025February 5Wednesday
2026February 4Wednesday
La Poutine Week
National Patient Recognition Week
National Patient Recognition Week
Shape Up With Pickles Time
Solo Diners Eat Out Week
U.S. Snow Sculpting Week
Women's Heart Week
World Interfaith Harmony Week
Abolition of Slavery Day
Car Insurance Day
Change Your Password Day
Conservatorship and Guardianship Abuse Awareness Day
Day of Remembrance and Respect to Victims of the Communist Regime
Decorating with Candy Day
Decorating With Candy Day
Federal Territory Day
G.I. Joe Day
Global School Play Day
Heroes' Day
Holiday Hugs Day
Hula in the Coola Day
International Face and Body Art Day
National Baked Alaska Day
National Cameron Day
National Dark Chocolate Day
National Freedom Day
National Get Up Day
National Girls and Women in Sports Day
National Sean Day
National Serpent Day
National Signing Day
National Texas Day
Robinson Crusoe Day
Spunky Old Broads Day
Tet Nguyen Dan
World Aspergillosis Day
World Hijab Day
World Read Aloud Day
Adopt a Rescued Rabbit Month
African American Heritage Month
AMD/Low Vision Awareness Month
American Heart Month
An Affair to Remember Month
Barley Month
Beat the Heat Month
Berry Fresh Month
Bike To Work Month
Black History Month
Canned Food Month
Celebration of Chocolate Month
Cholangiocarcinoma Awareness Month
Creative Romance Month
Declutter for a Cause Month
Dog Training Education Month
Ethnic Equality Month
Exotic Vegetables and Star Fruit Month
Fabulous Florida Strawberry Month
Feline Fix by Five Month
Financial Aid Awareness Month
Free Open Source Software Month
From Africa to Virginia Month
Great American Pie Month
Human Relations Month
Humpback Whale Awareness Month
International Boost Self Esteem Month
International Expect Success Month
International Friendship Month
International Hoof Care Month
International Month of Black Women in the Arts
International Prenatal Infection Prevention Month
Jobs in Golf Month
LGBT+ History Month
Love the Bus Month
Marfan Syndrome Awareness Month
Marijuana Awareness Month
National African American Read-In
National Arts Month
National Avocado and Banana Month
National Bake For Family Fun Month
National Bird Feeding Month
National Blah Buster Month
National Cancer Prevention Month
National Care About Your Indoor Air Month
National Cat Health Month
National Cherry Month
National Children’s Dental Health Month
National Condom Month
National Embroidery Month
National Enrolled Agents Month
National Fasting February
National Fondue Month
National Goat Yoga Month
National Grapefruit Month
National Haiku Writing Month
National Heart Healthy Month
National Hot Breakfast Month
National Laugh-Friendly Month
National Library Lovers Month
National Macadamia Nut Month
National Mend a Broken Heart Month
National Parent Leadership Month
National Self-Check Month
National Senior Independence Month
National Snack Food Month
National Sweet Potato Month
National Therapeutic Recreation Month
National Time Management Month
National Weddings Month
National Women Inventors Month
North American Inclusion Month (NAIM)
Pet Dental Health Month
Plant the Seeds of Greatness Month
Potato Lovers Month
Pull Your Sofa Off the Wall Month
Raynaud's Awareness Month
Relationship Wellness Month
Responsible Pet Owners Month
Return Shopping Carts to the Supermarket Month
Spay/Neuter Awareness Month
Spiritual Teachers Month
Spunky Old Broads Month
Teen Dating Violence Awareness Month
Vegan Cuisine Month
Wise Health Care Consumer Month
Women’s Role in History Month
Worldwide Renaissance of the Heart Month
Youth Leadership Month

Want to sponsor this holiday?

Holidays Straight to Your Inbox

Every day is a holiday!
Receive fresh holidays directly to your inbox.