Paradoxically, play is regarded as inappropriate in certain places where children are obliged to spend time. Too often, play is regarded as something incidental and sometimes even bothersome. However, we should be aware that whenever children are around, if we want them to be as happy as possible, then we should consider this option. In addition to the tremendous benefits of free play, games and play activities can be guided, encouraged or set up by different professionals in order to achieve certain educational or psychological aims.
Let's consider school, for example. A large part of childhood is spent at school where the teaching staff endeavour to achieve educational objectives which are often difficult to attain. Motivating children is a difficult task, as is finding effective teaching aids. Toys and games can help in this difficult task. A school where children play to learn on a regular basis is a school where children enjoy themselves more and learn better. Play as a learning aid is therefore a good ally for the school environment.
Now let's consider children's hospitals. Children who are required to spend long periods of time in hospital have an even greater need of toys and games than other children, in order to understand, accept and face their situation. Play helps them to maintain a sense of control over the prevailing environment, enabling them to express their feelings, release emotional tension and therefore, anxiety and stress. Play helps the child to channel aggression and boosts self-esteem. Can you think of a better way to lessen the negative effects of hospitalisation in children? Play can do this and should therefore be present in all hospitals where there are children .


that in future it does not seem strange or inappropriate to most professionals and adults for children to play in a school or hospital! If this happens, it will be a welcome advance in children's education, health and welfare.