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Play Day to be celebrated on Saturday 20 April – How play supports friendship skills

This year’s national Play Day will be celebrated for the ninth time on Saturday 20 April. The themes for this year are friendship skills and connecting with others through play. The Play Day network invites people of all ages to get into the spirit of play on Play Day and during the week before.

Play Day will be celebrated with dozens of free Play Day events around Finland. Events will be organised by the Mannerheim League for Child Welfare’s (MLL) local associations, libraries, museums and parishes, among others.

All Play Day events can be found at

Play Day is organised by the Play Day network, coordinated by the Mannerheim League for Child Welfare (MLL). The network consists of over 50 different operators.

The aim of the play day is to remind people of the joy and well-being that play brings. Play is considered very important and it is also enshrined in the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child. Play develops a child’s thinking, problem-solving and interaction skills.

Play teaches friendship skills such as listening to others, negotiating and agreeing, asking for help and helping others. It is therefore worth encouraging and helping your child to join in and invite others to play. Play can also help adults to connect with other people.

”Nowadays, it’s important to be able to interact with all kinds of people. Playing teaches communication and negotiation, and how to look at things from the other player’s point of view,” says Karolina Lamroth, coordinator of the Play Day programme at the Mannerheim League for Child Welfare.

Play is fun and a way to get together without the pressure to perform. Children and adults playing together brings much-needed respite to everyday life. Play can also be part of a guided activity, bringing relaxation and shared experiences of joy to the activity.

“When playing, the courage to try new skills grows and the fear of failure often disappears. When a child is absorbed in play, they focus on their own performance instead of evaluating the performance and skills of friends. That’s why we hope that playfulness will also be an important part of sports activities,” says Marianna Tarhala, an expert from the Olympic Committee, one of the members of the Play Day Network.

Play Day invites adults and children to spend time together in unhurried play every single day of the year.  The Play Day programme promotes play in various ways and encourages people to let play whisk them away.  For more information and inspiration for play, see leikkipäivä.fi,


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