Since 1988, every 28 May is celebrated internationally as World Play Day. The purpose of this date is to remind ourselves that play is a fundamental right for children of all ages. Play is seen as an indispensable tool for children’s development: Games help them to discover, observe and interact with the world around them. By playing, we learn to form relationships with others, learn about our bodies, develop our intellect and discover an inexhaustible source of pleasure and enjoyment.

A recent study published in the American magazine The Journal of Pediatrics shows that children who play more are better disposed towards learning. The experts of the Observatorio del Juego Infantil are in full agreement and argue that toys and playing should not just be limited to pre-school education, but should continue to be part of education in order to encourage learning, awaken children’s curiosity and increase their motivation, especially among children who have special needs. For it is through playing that pupils can become the protagonist of their own learning process, which leads to greater involvement.

A growing event

It is precisely with this idea of giving children this protagonism that the Festival de la Infància, organized by Fira de Barcelona since 1963, is transforming this year into the City of Dreams. A new event that will be held from 28 to 30 December at the Montjuïc site and which aims to introduce children to the world of professions through play.

When they visit this magical city, they can play at being a doctor, nurse, mechanic, footballer, journalist, weatherman or woman, cook, architect or inventor, among many other possibilities. The City of Dreams will have more than twenty urban facilities, such as a sports centre, a park, a bookshop, a square, a garden and even a TV studio. A city in miniature which is the right size for children to play at being grown-ups during the Christmas holidays.