Please join us on Wednesday, February 7, for a citywide day of games and fun, in observance of the Global School Play Day!

Healthi Kids has brought together schools, libraries, R-Centers, childcare providers and out of school time programs to participate in the Global School Play Day, celebrated in more than 75 countries! Together, we can amplify our community’s vision for playful learning in all of our learning environments.  

Healthi Kids has provided resources, materials, and support for almost 60 locations to advance unstructured play in their learning environments for Global School Day of Play. 

To find sites near you, see the map below or download the complete list. Please note that sites in red are only for enrolled students. Schedules for the day vary by site.


Why focus on unstructured play?

Since 2009, the Healthi Kids Coalition has been advocating for the power of play in both Rochester’s schools, neighborhoods, and early learning environments to ensure every child in our community receives the benefits play provides to their learning, development, and success. Healthi Kids for years has brought together neighborhood partners to raise awareness for the power of play in neighborhoods through the city-wide play day “PlayROCs your Neighborhood.”

The Rochester community is passionate about the power of play in both schools and neighborhoods. In 2021, we released a community vision for playful learning in the Rochester City School District that stated “Play is central to the education and well-being of our children. To support our kids, we must maximize the potential of play in a culturally responsive and sustaining way within our education system. All children (PreK-12) in the RCSD must have equitable access to playful learning and unstructured play opportunities throughout the day (in school, out of school, and during the summer).”

For many children, play is their preferred way of learning, and research demonstrates that play can enhance academic performance. Research dictates that play is where children learn they are in control of their life, to solve their own problems, to get along with peers, to see another’s point of view, to practice empathy, to innovate, to create and very importantly, to experience pure joy. 

Experts including the Harvard Center on the Developing Child, also agree play is also critical to mitigating the impact the trauma associated with COVID-19, structural racism, and youth’s adverse childhood experiences (ACEs). 

Unstructured play, also known as free play, in particular is helpful in practicing problem solving and imagination skills. Because unstructured play has no set rules or guidelines, children invent their own and collaborate with each other on things like who takes the first turn and how to earn points. This type of free play has been on the decline in recent years due to a number of factors like safety concerns related to playing outside in one's neighborhood and the increase in technology-mediated play and screen time. This is why Healthi Kids is so excited to host Global School Play Day this year!