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Cambridge City Council

Council encourages Cambridge residents to take part in national Play Day on 2 August

25 July 2023

On Wednesday 2 August, Cambridge residents are being invited to take part in Play Day – a national day that is marked each year to highlight the importance of play in children’s lives.  

There are a number of easy ways to get involved locally, by:

  • joining Cambridge City Council’s family fun event and community picnic at Brown’s Field Community Centre on 2 August
  • taking on the challenge to make 2 August extra playful for those around you, at no-cost or low-cost
  • making it safer for people to play outside in your neighbourhood.

The Play Day campaign says that play is essential at all ages and stages of childhood, helping during times of crisis, making sense of the world, making friends, coping with stress and anxiety, and supporting children to develop creativity and imagination.

The campaign theme for 2023 is Playing on a shoestring – making every day an adventure, which focuses on the everyday low-cost or no-cost play adventures that children can enjoy. The campaign suggests that the simplest ideas can offer the most fun, and be the most developmentally beneficial for children and young people.

Play Day family fun event and community picnic

The family fun event and community picnic takes place from 12 to 2pm on Wednesday 2 August, at Brown's Field Community Centre off Green End Road.

There will be an animal petting corner, nature crafts, a bag design activity, and a visit from the University of Cambridge Museums. There will also be chunky chalk and string for children to take home for future play. All activities are free and the event is open to everyone – no booking needed, but please bring your own picnic.

Make every day an adventure at no-cost or low-cost

In support of this year’s Play Day theme - Playing on a shoestring - the council is encouraging people to be creative with chalk and string, and to share photos showing how using only these low-cost items can spark imagination and play. Chunky chalks and balls of string were handed out at the recent Playlaws play event on Parker’s Piece, and more will be available at the family fun event at Brown’s Field on 2 August. What fun can you create with just chalk and string?

Cambridge residents can also pick up a free ‘borrow bag’ from council-run community centres, with a parachute, skipping ropes and other games to make any day a little more fun. Alternatively, the ‘Love Exploring’ app is available to turn a walk into an adventure, with augmented reality dinosaurs, fairies and a spacewalk popping up across Cambridge’s parks. Find out more and see a series of free events happening over the summer months.

Making it safer for children to play out in your neighbourhood  

You may want to support children to play safely in your local park or street on Play Day (or at any other time). Playing Out is a resident and parent-led movement to restore children’s freedom to play out where they live. If you want to help children where you live to be able to play freely the council can help you to organise this – email

Cllr Mairéad Healy, Executive Councillor for Communities, said: “We’re keen to support the national Play Day campaign because we all benefit from being playful with our family and friends – but with busy lives and worries about finances, it can feel challenging to know how to create that fun.

“I’d encourage people to take advantage of the family fun event on 2 August which is set to be a brilliant day. Even if you can’t make that date, there are plenty more community picnics with free activities taking place each week during the summer.

“We also want to make it easier for people to have fun away from organised events, and so the borrow bags or the Love Exploring app can help turn any get together into something more playful. And, if you’d like to make it easier for people in your neighbourhood to get together to have fun, ask us how we can support you to make your park or street safer to play in.

“We know play is so important for children and young people, but it’s actually really beneficial for people of all ages and helps us feel happy and connected. So whatever age you are, please join in the fun on Play Day.”