Playday is the national day for play across the UK. On Wednesday 2 August thousands of children, families and communities will be going out to play.

This year’s theme is Playing on a shoestring – making every day an adventure. Playing doesn’t mean expensive toys and activities, the simplest cost-free ideas are often the most fun. Make this Playday, and every day, an adventure!

P is for painting pebbles to spruce up your garden. Decorate a few with words or short messages and leave for others to find when out walking in your community, to brighten their day.

L is for the light from the sun which can be used to cast interesting shadows of your favourite toys – line them up outside on a piece of paper and draw around the unusual shapes created. Don’t worry if the sun is hiding, it can also work indoors using a lamp or torch.

A is for asking older relatives about games they played when they were younger and giving them a go. Games like kerbsie, 40 40, elastics, hopscotch and dodgeball are a great way to try new activities and have fun outdoors.

Y is for yachts and water play – when the sun is shining get splish splashing in your garden. Gather smaller containers of different sizes and build a dam, sail a boat, paint the pavement, or create a mini beach for your toys.

D is for designing artwork using natural materials found in your garden or on a walk such as shells, sand, flowers, leaves, sticks, pebbles, berries etc. You could make a flower suncatcher, do leaf printing, press flowers, make a nature mobile or wind chime, or create a mosaic.

A is for an assault course to challenge your family to test their balance, speed and strength. Using the resources and space in your garden you can include different trials such as scoring a goal, weaving through the trees, jumping a log, crawling around the flower bed, then down the slide.

Y is for yogurt pots and other bits and bobs that you can find at home such as carboard boxes, newspapers, materials for recycling, blankets, milk cartons, old clothes etc. What can you create or build? The possibilities are endless!

Download Playful Playday Adventures.

PlayBoard staff share some of their favourite low-cost play memories.

Click on the links below for more play ideas and activities

About Playday

Playday is the national day for play across the UK, taking place every year on the first Wednesday in August. Playday is a celebration of children’s right to play, and a campaign that highlights the importance of play in children and young people’s lives.

The biggest celebration of children’s play in the UK, Playday is the most important date in the play sector’s calendar. The campaign sees thousands of children, young people, and communities get out and play at events, large and small, across the UK.

This year’s theme is Playing on a shoestring – making every day an adventure.

The theme focuses on the everyday low-cost or no-cost play adventures that children can enjoy at home, in settings, and in our communities.

Play opportunities don’t need to involve expensive activities, costly toys, or trips to far-off destinations. It is often the simplest ideas, the free and found opportunities, which offer the most fun, and are the most developmentally beneficial for children and young people.

  • Play is essential at all ages and stages of childhood, and is particularly important during times of crisis.
  • Play helps children and young people make sense of the world around them, deal with challenges, and build resilience.
  • Play is fun, enabling children and young people to make friends, blow off steam, and cope with stress and anxiety.
  • Play is vital for children and young people’s health, happiness, and skills development including creativity, imagination, and sense of adventure.

Make this Playday, and every day, an adventure!

Get involved

  • Share your Playday event – add your event to the Playday events listing.
  • Find a Playday event near you.
  • Download campaign posters.
  • Become a Playday Champion – an opportunity for national organisations to support the Playday campaign.

Visit the Playday website for more information at

Stay up to date by following Playday on Facebook and Twitter. #Playday2023 #PlayingOnAShoestring

Playday is coordinated by PlayBoard NI, Play England, Play Wales and Play Scotland.