Our Vision

A society in which the value of Child-Led Play is realised

Our Mission

To create a community of practice, a network and a
knowledge base that champions the child’s right to play

The house roof indicates the documents which outline Human and Children’s Rights. Our countries have signed these documents as legal agreements to fulfil children’s rights. These are:
1.   UNCRC: United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child
2.   ACRWC: African Charter on the Rights and Welfare of the Child
3.   CRPD: Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities
4.   Bill of Rights: SA Constitution
5. Children’s Act 38 of 2005
Children must be protected against:
– Abuse: emotional, sexual, physical
– Drug use
– Trafficking
– Child Labour
– Homelessness
– Exploitation
– Severe punishment
– Safety: traffic, swimming, unsafe places
– Being exposed: privacy
Children must receive the following for their survival:
1. Food security
2. Social security (e.g. grants)
3. Standard of living: housing, water & sanitation
4. Health care
5. Family care
Children need the following developmental support:
– Education
– Cultural recognition
– Rehabilitation
– Support for children with Disabilities.
– Participation rights
– Play and recreation
Participation is a principle of Children’s Rights and includes:
– Freedom of association
– Freedom of expression
– Access to information
– Guidance to support values and religious choices
– Privacy-choice
All children are welcome to enter the house through this door.
There is no discrimination in this house!
These are the groups that are expected to take responsibility to fulfil the Rights of Children.
1. FAMILY: Parents, grandparents, extended family, adoptive parents
2. COMMUNITY: Neighbours, Faith Based Organizations, Self-Help Groups, Child Care Forums, Play Forums
3. SPECIAL HELPERS: Teachers, Social Workers, Doctors & Nurses, Police Officers, Magistrates, Lawyers, Taxi Drivers, Play Facilitators, Play Champions
These Groups have a duty to care for children:
Departments Of Social Development & Welfare, Health, Education, Justice, Police & Security, Water & Sanitation, Sports & Recreation, Transport, Environment, Finance
GLOBAL INSTITUTIONS: United Nations, World Bank

Every child deserves safe and appropriate environments for play. To focus attention on the value and importance of playing, A Chance to Play South Africa (ACTP) engages key stakeholders, including government, youth and childcare workers, educators, play facilitators, parents and companies. We focus on three core pillars: Advocacy, Training, and Community Engagement.


Why governments should care about play

Government, as a signatory to the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child and the African Charter on the Rights and Welfare of the Child, has a duty to support parents to enable them to fulfil their play-related responsibilities (Articles 31 and 12 respectively). This is stated clearly in UN General Comment 17 (2013), which was published by the UN Children’s Rights Committee to clarify the contents of Article 31 and to offer guidance about practical measures of implementation.

Play is a multi-sectoral responsibility. It assists government departments to achieve their objectives:

Department of Basic Education:
Play supports holistic development in children from birth to 18 years. Self-directed free play activities stimulate and refresh children – during recess, after school, on weekends and during school holidays. Self-directed play develops skills that are critical in the workplace such as leadership, team work, communication, planning and organising, self-management, using initiative and problem solving. 

Departments of Art and Culture, Sports and Recreation:
Play provides inclusive recreational play opportunities for different age groups and abilities, opportunities for indigenous and other games as recreational activities and opportunities to take part in cultural and art activities. 

Department of Social Development:
Play for development that builds the family unit. Providing challenging activities for older children gives them an alternative to getting involved in crime, drugs and alcohol, and can help to alleviate depression.

Department of Health:
Healthy outdoor play builds strong muscles and bodies, counteracts the development of obesity and promotes mental health. Unstructured free play is the primary way that children deal with stress and work through their feelings.

Community Safety:
Children should be able to cross roads safely to enter play areas and they should be safe from undesirable elements and bullying while playing.

ACTP produced the Play is not an Optional Extra brochure for government and others, which shows how play supports many children’s rights and provides an overview of the play opportunities that should be available for children.

ACTP released a Play Policy Brief in 2017 – the first of its kind in South Africa.

This well-researched document reviewed the status of the child’s right to play and recreation in terms of current government policy. The findings highlight the fact that, while there are policies for play-based learning, there are no policies for recreational, child-led play in place and that there are gaps in play provision for older children, tweens, adolescents and children with disabilities.
Available for free download from the Resources Page.


Building capacity in those passionate about play

A Chance to Play South Africa (ACTP) is committed to building the capacity of anyone interested in facilitating play including parents – ensuring every child has access to appropriate, high quality play.

This in-depth six-month course titled: Principles and Practices in Enabling the Child’s Right to Play equips participants with knowledge about:

  • What play really is and its importance in children’s development and wellbeing
  • The benefits of different types of play
  • The right of children to play and the barriers that prevent play from happening
  • How to enable play in a variety of situations for children of different ages and abilities

This is a 3-day training workshop entitled “Enabling the Child’s Right to Play”. The course is participatory as it includes sharing previous knowledge and experiences of play, debating issues and actively taking part in different types of play such as big group games, free play, outdoor play and more.

The training course can be adapted to suit specific requirements. If training is requested for a group from a particular area, the trainer travels to the area and any additional costs are added to the quote.

This is a series of 6 2-hour virtual sessions entitled “Enabling the Child’s Right to Play – a virtual workshop series”

It covers every aspect of the Face-to- Face Training although participants watch videos instead of actually participating in play. The course is participatory and includes opportunities to share previous knowledge and experiences of play and to debate issues through “Chat” and break-away rooms.

The workshops interrogate how play can be made inclusive and how children’s right to play can still be respected in a crisis such as the Covid Pandemic.

ACTP has trained over 200 play facilitators in 6 SADC countries impacting over 22 000 children aged 2 to 16. Many of these play facilitators have trained others.

The BASIC MODULES in all the courses are:

1. What is play? Reflections on own play; Defining Play; Benefits of and Threats to Play; Types of Play; Analysing an activity to discover all its holistic play elements

2. The Child’s Right to Play – United Nations Convention on Children’s Rights, with a special focus on Article 31; African Charter on the Rights and Welfare of a Child – Article 12; UN General Comment 17 (2013) – what governments and parents must do to live up to their responsibilities around children’s right to play

3. Big Group Games – The Art of leading (facilitating) Play; How to play various games; Planning Play

4. Free Play – Child Directed Play | Imaginative and Creative Play; Loose Parts Play; Pretend Play; Construction Play

5. Outdoor PlayComprehensive variety of outdoor play zones; Play Activities for different ages and abilities; Playing in Nature; Importance of risky play; Safety

6. Brain GamesPuzzles, board and card games, thinking games and activities; Age appropriate activities; Making a board/card game; Taking care of games

7. Creative Activities – painting, drawing, storytelling, mud and water play

8. Drama , Cultural activities, Dance

9. Enabling Play Play Forums; Play Clubs; Park Watch; Planning Play Days, Play Sessions, Street Play, World Play Day Events

10. Child safety during Play


Putting play in community hands

To reach every child, A Chance to Play (ACTP) supports the development of Community Play Forums. A Play Forum is an action group made up of community members, who work towards establishing enough safe and appropriate play areas for children in their neighbourhoods. Each Play Forum is guided by a Play Champion – preferably someone who has completed an ACTP training course.

ACTP provides a detailed information pack to anyone wanting to start a Play Forum and who fulfills certain requirements. This includes resources and support in:

1. Setting up the first meeting.
2. Identifying gaps in play provision within the community.
3. Informing and educating community members and parents.
4. Involving children in planning play spaces and activities.
5. Building support from community leaders and ward councillors.
6. Creating more opportunities for play with examples.

Play Forums work!
Click here to view a few of our success stories.

Contact us for more information on setting up a Play Forum