Who has the right to play?

Tuesday, March 31, 2015

How does a plastic grocery bag connect to human rights?

One of the activities we offer for families during spring break involves learning to make a soccer ball from plastic bags, newspaper and string. It’s one of my favourites.

The intention is to inspire thought and conversation about the right to play – and the obstacles faced by many children around the world who have challenges accessing sports equipment and toys. In parts of Africa, young people scour garbage dumps for plastic bags and string to transform trash into soccer balls so they can play a game they love.


This video shows how you can make your own soccer balls at home. 

Video description: a video demonstration showing hands making a soccer ball with plastic bags and string.


This story is also explored in the “Everyday Objects” array in the Museum’s Rights Today gallery.

A white object resembling a plastic bag next to a digital touch screen that shows an image of young people playing soccer.
An exhibit links plastic bags to the right to play.


The exhibit uses objects like bags, water bottles, cell phones, running shoes and cooking oil to encourage thinking about human rights issues in your consumer choices.

A museum display with white objects hanging above digital touch screens.
The Museum’s Every Day object array.


How many different kinds of balls do you have at your home and school? What if you couldn’t afford them – or had no time for play?

The right to play is enshrined in both the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the United Nations’ Declaration on the Rights of the Child. Talk with your family and friends about ways you can help others exercise this basic human right.

A child plays with a ball
Museum program interpreters are ready to show families how to make their own soccer balls and discuss the right to play.

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