Playing through crisis: lessons from COVID-19 on play as a fundamental right of the child

Theresa Casey, John H. McKendrick*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

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In its COVID-19 Statement of April 2020, the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child recommended that States Parties explore alternative and creative solutions for children to enjoy their rights to rest, leisure, recreation, and cultural and artistic activities – rights, which along with the right to play, are encompassed in Article 31 of the Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC). This paper reflects on play in times of crisis, giving particular focus to the experiences during the COVID-19 pandemic. Three narratives of play and crisis are introduced – play in crisis; the threat to play in times of crisis; and play as a remedy to crisis. Progressive responses to support play during COVID-19 are appraised. Against a backdrop of innovation and a stimulus to research in play, concerns persist that children’s right to play is not foregrounded, and that the ‘everydayness of play’ is not adequately facilitated.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages20
JournalThe International Journal of Human Rights
Early online date6 Apr 2022
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 6 Apr 2022


  • children’s play
  • article 31
  • COVID-19
  • children’s rights
  • human rights

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Sciences(all)
  • Law
  • Sociology and Political Science


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