Image of Minister Roderic O'Gorman & Ciaarn Cuffe of the Green Party with young children at a table with an 'Equal Start' image, to mark the launch of Equal Start, at YMCA Dublin Childcare services

At YMCA Dublin, we firmly believe that play is a fundamental part of life –  essential not just for children but for people of all ages.

As we mark the first-ever International Day of Play on June 11, 2024, we are proud to reflect on how play continues to inspire our work. 

What does being Play-Inspired mean for us?

Being play-inspired means recognising the importance of play in the growth and development of children, young people, families, and communities. 

It’s about fostering an environment where exploration, experimentation, and interaction thrive through playful activities. This approach helps individuals develop social, cognitive, and physical skills, enhancing creativity, problem-solving abilities, and a love for learning.

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Why Play Matters

Play is central to children and young people’s lives, supporting the development of knowledge, skills, and abilities that enhance their social, physical, and emotional well-being. It is a natural, active, and often unplanned process in which thinking, feeling, and doing can flourish. Play helps children and young people develop their inner resources, building the resilience to face life’s difficulties and uncertainties.

Play is not just for children and young people; it’s also beneficial for adults. Engaging in playful activities reduces stress, boosts creativity, improves problem-solving skills, and fosters social connections. It is essential for developing the cognitive, physical, creative, social and emotional skills needed in today’s rapidly changing world. 

There is no age limit on engaging in play, and experiencing its benefits.

Our Commitment to Play

At YMCA Dublin, we seek to promote play for all ages by providing Time, Space and Independence for play. This means we focus on providing adequate opportunities for play within our programming (Time), ensuring we have playful environments that are accessible and inclusive (Space), and ensuring play experiences are led by children, young people and adults themselves (Independence).

We are also committed to developing staff awareness on the importance of play, exploring how opportunities for community play can be provided in public spaces, and advocating for young people and adults in overcoming constraints to play.

Join Us in Celebrating Play

On this International Day of Play, let’s embrace the power of play as we recognise and celebrate its global significance. Whether it’s children making sense of the world or adults reconnecting with their inner joy, play is a powerful tool for growth and connection. Let’s work together to ensure everyone has the opportunity to play and thrive.

Happy International Day of Play from all of us at YMCA Dublin!

 

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