What do Barcelona children think about our use of time?

04/05/2023 - 10:41 h

» Within the framework of Barcelona as a World Capital of Time Use Policies, ‘Barcelona, the time temple’, a fun, participative activity, was held with children between the ages of 6 and 12.

Understanding the importance of time use is crucial for bringing up children during the early years of life, as a balanced use of time contributes to good mental health and personality development. Furthermore, listening to children and considering their concerns, needs and perspectives in developing public policies contributes to building a more egalitarian, sustainable, healthy and efficient city.

In recent months lively workshops under the name of ‘Barcelona, the time temple’ have been held in municipal facilities like play centres, open centres, civic centres, children’s activity centres, etc. A total of 19 facilities spread across all districts served as venues for this workshop. Almost 300 children aged 6 to 12 participated in this fun, participative activity in which they reflected on the concept of time, the way we use it and what we want to do with this time.

Fun activities that encourage children to think

Through games and fun activities, the children experimented with different concepts related to time, their daily lives, and those of their families.

To make this possible, the workshop was divided into two main phases:

The first part focused on reflection. Time is an intangible concept difficult for children of these ages to understand. Thus, participants reflected and gradually unravelled the meaning of time. Once it was defined, other activities were held that allowed us to get closer to understanding the uses of time. For example, one of the most interesting activities was having Pepi, a character who represented the person in charge of time in Barcelona, hand out a little bag to each child. This bag represented their time in one day, and full of little coloured balls symbolising minutes and hours. Each child had to distribute this time the way they usually did in their daily lives, in transparent jars labelled with activities like resting, going to school, doing sports, looking at screens, having family time, etc. The most interesting part of the activity was the reflections that emerged at the end.

The second part of the workshop consisted of a creative and future-oriented phase, in which the group predicted, focused on and imagined how they could build a Barcelona where everyone would have options to enjoy their time. This phase began with a conversation with the children and concluded with individual or small group constructions using Legos and reusable elements based on the ideas discussed. This approach also enabled reflection on what we can do to improve the quality of time and how the city can contribute to making it possible.

In the final part of the workshop, which focused on reviewing and concluding the session, some children were interviewed and asked what time is, how they and their families use it.

You can see a summary of the activity in this video and the video with the children’s participation. 

Conclusions that reach all citizens

The Barcelona City Council is promoting a policy that takes children’s voices into account. That is why the conclusions of the workshop can not only be retrieved on this website, but they have been disseminated through the public media so that they reach all citizens and can promote a joint reflection.

On Sundays 4, 11 and 18 June, these reflections will be present in the program Catakrac in Betevé, the children’s program in which boys, girls and schools are protagonists. For now, you can see the first broadcast on the betéve website.


The Barcelona City Council wants to thank all the participating facilities, the children and their families:

  • Casal Infantil – Centre Cívic Ateneu Fort Pienc
  • Casal Infantil – Baró de Viver Civic Centre
  • Casal Infantil – Centre Cívic Cotxeres Borrell
  • Casal Infantil – Centre Cívic Drassanes
  • Casal Infantil – Centre Cívic La Sedeta
  • Casal Infantil – Centre Cívic Teixonera
  • Casal Infantil – Centre Cívic Vallvidrera – Vázquez Montalbán
  • Casal Infantil Turó
  • Casal Infantil Vil·la Urània
  • Casal Infantil i Ciberaula Bon Pastor
  • Espai Familiar Socioeducatiu i Centre Obert Municipal Les Corts – Sants
  • Imagina’t – Servei de Dinamització Infantil i Juvenil
  • Ludoteca del Centre Cívic Casa Groga
  • Ludoteca Poble-sec del Centre Cívic El Sortidor
  • Ludoteca El Xalet del Clot
  • Ludoteca Guitard
  • Ludoteca La Verneda
  • Ludoteca Placeta del Pi
  • Ludoteca Sóller